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
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.
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.