James Ray's Lawyers Want Autopsy Photos and Other Evidence Tossed from Sweat-Lodge Trial
Lawyers for Oprah-approved snake-oil salesman James Arthur Ray, leader of the sweat-lodge fiasco that left three people dead and dozens injured last October, are asking a Yavapai County Superior Court judge to throw out some key evidence against the "self-help" guru in his upcoming manslaughter trial.
Ray's attorneys filed several motions to suppress last week, requesting that financial records, testimony from previous events, and autopsy photos be barred from his August trial.
The lawyers, according to court docs, claim the evidence would confuse jurors, generate prejudice against Ray, and waste judicial resources.
Ray's been charged with three counts of manslaughter stemming from the deaths of three people at a self-help retreat in Sedona.
NBA Preseason Basketball: Phoenix Suns v. Utah Jazz
TicketsWed., Oct. 5, 7:00pm
Arizona Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks
TicketsFri., Oct. 7, 7:00pm
TicketsSat., Oct. 8, 7:00pm
NBA Preseason Basketball: Phoenix Suns v. Dallas Mavericks
TicketsFri., Oct. 14, 7:00pm
The victims, Kirby Brown, 38, James Shore, 40, and Liz Neuman, 49, each died while participating in Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" retreat after spending nearly an hour in a poorly ventilated sweat lodge.
Many of the other participants -- um, the ones who didn't die -- say Ray was pressuring participants to stay in the crammed tent even as people began passing out and throwing up from the heat.
Hearings to discuss Ray's lawyer's motions have been set for July 21 and 22.
Ray's trial is scheduled to begin August 31.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.