James Arthur Ray Trial Date Set in Yavapai County; Public Won't See Autopsy Photos
"Spiritual warrior" James Arthur Ray
"Spiritual warrior" James Arthur Ray will get his day in court, but autopsy photos of his alleged victims will not be released to the public, a Yavapai County Superior Court judge ruled this morning.
Judge Warren Darrow set a trial date of August 31, for Ray and ruled in favor of the prosecution on the issue of the autopsy pictures.
Prosecutors and the victims families had argued to have the photos withheld and asked that only the first and last pages of the autopsy report be released to the public. Judge Darrow agreed and issued his ruling at a court hearing this morning, the Associated Press reports.
Ray is charged with three counts of manslaughter for the October deaths of three people near Sedona.
Ray, a "self-help" guru, is believed to have "helped" a few people meet their demise during a bizarre sweat-lodge ceremony as part of his "Spiritual Warrior" motivational retreat.
During the ceremony, participants were filed into a makeshift tent with poor ventilation, where Ray and other organizers placed hot, steaming rocks in the center of the room.
If loading dozens of people into a poorly ventilated tent and throwing steaming rocks into the mix sounds like a stupid idea to you, you're right -- people began vomiting, passing out, and losing consciousness.
At the end of the day, three people were dead and dozens injured, while Ray skipped town and headed back to his multi-million dollar Beverly Hills mansion.
If convicted, Ray faces a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of 12 for each manslaughter charge.
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