4

James Ray Guilty of Negligent Homicide; Manslaughter Charges Didn't Stick

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

"Spiritual warrior" James Ray was found guilty today of three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people at a 2009 "self-help" retreat near Sedona, during which he guided dozens of people into a poorly ventilated "sweat lodge" and discouraged them from leaving when they felt sick.

Ray could have been convicted of manslaughter.

See more of New Times' coverage of Ray's death lodge fiasco here.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, Ray discouraged participants from leaving the sweat lodge, even as some were throwing up and passing out.

One of the victims, 49-year-old Liz Neuman of Prior Lake, Minnesota died of multiple-organ failure after the ceremony. The other two victims, 38-year-old Kirby Brown of Westtown, New York, and 40-year-old James Shore of Wisconsin, each fell victim to heat stroke after being in the sweat tent.

Ray maintains that the deaths were a tragic accident, but prosecutors feel that stuffing dozens of people into a hot, poorly ventilated sweat tent -- and then discouraging them from leaving -- is more than just an accident.

Prosecutors argued for manslaughter convictions, but Ray's high-priced attorney, Thomas Kelly, persuaded jurors otherwise and he was found not guilty on those charges.

Ray faces up to 11 years in prison. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.