June 22, 2011

Ray guilty of negligent homicide

Self-help guru convicted in Arizona sweat lodge deaths

A jury finds James Arthur Ray guilty of negligent homicide in the 2009 deaths of three clients. One victim's family plans a watchdog group to monitor the self-help industry.

By Nicholas Riccardi
A jury in Arizona convicted a bestselling author and self-help guru Wednesday in the deaths of three clients during a sweat lodge ceremony in 2009 that was intended to help participants overcome adversity to reach their full potential.

After hearing four months of testimony, the eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for fewer than 12 hours before finding James Arthur Ray guilty of three counts of negligent homicide.

The panel acquitted Ray of the more serious charges of manslaughter.

Wearing a dark jacket and dress shirt in the Camp Verde courtroom, Ray sat silently during the televised proceedings, his face breaking into relief when the manslaughter charges were rejected. He became grimmer when the clerk announced that the jury had convicted him of the lesser charges.

Prosecutors argued that Ray was criminally negligent in subjecting Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman and James Shore to life-threatening conditions, and that he deserved prison for their deaths. They played a recording of him urging participants to ignore their bodies' signs of distress during what he called a "hellacious" event.
Comment:  As Nelson says on The Simpsons: "Haw haw!"

Ray got what he deserved. I was thinking manslaughter, but it's hard to get around the signed waivers. Negligent homicide sounds good too.

My main wish was to take Ray out of circulation and warn people against other New Age charlatans. This verdict does that.

For more on the subject, see Sweat Lodge Trial Begins and Ray Charged with Manslaughter.


none said...

I admit to smiling joyfully when I read this early this morning. Aw yeah!

Anonymous said...

A real sweat is safe, but someone like Ray who charges for it is by definition a fraud. I feel Schadenfreude! People taking pleasure in your pain!

dmarks said...

A real sweat is still risky. I remember a famous incident where someone died during an actual sweat-lodge ceremony.

Not that I in any way defend this fraudulent man. It's one thing to die during a legitimate ceremony, and another to die because someone is reckless in making a fast buck.