James Ray found guilty of negligent homicide in sweat lodge case

james ray guiltyIn the deaths of three participants in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony, self help guru James Ray has been convicted of negligent homicide, but he was not found guilty of manslaughter charges.

When the jury will convene to make a decision regarding aggravating circumstances in the case, the case would continue on 28th of June, 2011.

It was claimed by the prosecutors that, Ray’s recklessness in operating the sweat lodge caused the deaths of three people namely, Kirby Brown,38, of Westtown, New York; James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; and Lizbeth Marie Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minnesota.

In 2009 Ray had led and organised a ceremony and they died after participating in the same.

Also, at least 15 others who took part in the Sweat lodge ceremony were ill and more than 40 others were uninjured.

As per the arguments put forward by the prosecutors, the lodge, made of willow trees and branches and covered with tarpaulins and blankets, was heated to a perilously temperature that caused the participants to suffer dehydration and heatstroke. And they added that Ray didn’t check   the temperature inside the lodge or the well being of the participants and also behaved indifferent to those who those who clearly had the trouble.

It was countered by Ray’s lawyers that, it was not a tragic incident but a crime that had happened. The witnesses who were in the lodge were asked by them that whether they signed a release form warning them of the dangers. The reply that they have signed the same was made by all except some, who said that they didn’t read the form.

Attorney’s of Ray also suggested that the death might have caused by an exposure to an unknown toxin perhaps a pesticide, rat poison or something in the type of wood used to heat the rock.

According to trial testimony, event participants paid up to $10,000 to seek new areas of consciousness at October 2009Spiritual Warrior retreat in the desert. And the previous James Ray International seminar had been attended by many.

James Ray found guilty of negligent homicide in sweat lodge case

Report by Sharika