James Ray Death Lodge Trial Starts Today

Categories: Death Lodge
sweatlodge heat.jpg
The manslaughter trial for snake oil salesman James Arthur Ray is set to kick off in Yavapai County courtroom today, and it will be televised live on the In Session network thanks to a ruling from Judge Warren Darrow.

Ray's been charged with three counts of manslaughter for the October 2009 deaths of three participants of a sweat lodge ceremony in Sedona.

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.

Ray's attorneys have repeatedly tried to have the trial moved from Yavapai County to somewhere closer to Phoenix. They don't believe it's possible for their client to get a fair trial in Yavapai County because of  extensive media coverage of the case. They've renewed a request asking the trial be moved to Maricopa County.

The Associated Press reports that his attorneys say jury questionnaires reveal widespread prejudice against Ray in Yavapai County.

Ray's lawyers made a similar request last summer, which was denied by Judge Warren Darrow. At the time, though, Darrow said he'd still consider the request as the case moves closer to trial.

If convicted, Ray faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.

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21 comments
SharonHope
SharonHope

Seems there are some substance to the rumors after all:

"On October 8, 2009, at a “Spiritual Warrior” retreat conceived and hosted by Ray, at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Yavapai County near Sedona, Arizona, two participants, James Shore and Kirby Brown, died as a result of being in a sweat lodge exercise. Eighteen others were hospitalized after suffering various physical problems such as pinpoint pupils, shaking organ failure, and cold/hot flashes. According to medical records not one person exhibited the symptoms of dehydration or elevated body temperatures which are critical indicators for heat stroke. Liz Neuman, another attendee, died October 17 after being comatose for a week.

The EMT’s and emergency room doctors all documented that participants appeared to have signs of organo-phosphate (pesticide) poisoning with some believing it to be carbon monoxide. The sweat lodge structure was provided by Angel Valley Ranch for which Ray’s company, James Ray International, paid over $100,000 to provide in addition to food and lodging for the participants. The contract specifically stated that Angel Valley would provide “a 415 square foot space to accommodate up to 75 people.” On the day of the accident the sweat lodge contained 52 people. Angel Valley Ranch is owned and operated by Michael and Amayra Hamilton, both residents of Yavapai County.

Even though a written contract was presented between Ray’s company and Angel Valley, the Yavapai County Sheriff, Steve Waugh, said October 10 that the investigation was focusing on Ray and his staff in an attempt to determine if criminal negligence was involved. The county sheriff’s office held firm in the belief that Ray’s staff actually built the sweat lodge completely disregarding the contract."

THERE'S MORE:

http://www.jamesray.com/blog/2...

SharonHope
SharonHope

“You have to understand the situation before you blindly judge it. If YOU went to that workshop, with any one of the three people who eventually died, and lasted till half-way though the last round of the sweat lodge you would have said something like, 'That's it for me, I've got to get out. Are you doing okay?' And they would have said, 'Yes”. Then you would have asked, 'Are you sure you're okay and want to stay?' and they would have said, 'Yes!'” Everyone around them was convinced they were okay. (((EVERYONE))). If ANYONE for one moment was certain these people were actually dying they would have started screaming (((SHE'S DYING!!!))) No one ever did. That's why James Arthur Ray wasn't concerned. He trusted that the people were responsible enough to get out when they had had enough. There is no crime in this! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, as he said all along, and the coroners agree with him. All three deaths were officially categorized as “accidents”. Look it up if you don't believe me!

All those who initially were certain the deaths were not accidental were DEAD WRONG!!!!

http://www.google.com/search?i...

SharonHope
SharonHope

Is there any substance to the rumor I heard that Angel Valley paid a very large sum of money in order to bribe the investigators to elevate the investigation from an accidental death to a homicide so that the attention would be shifted off of the sweat lodge and onto James Arthur Ray? The investigators deliberately left exhibit A at the crime scene knowing full well that Angel Valley would completely destroy the evidence. One of the people who was paid off supposedly got guilty drunk one night and confessed to some friends who in turn spoke to others. They made certain Mr Ray could not get an independent autopsy performed on the three bodies. They actually died from a strange combination of toxins from the melting vinyl tarps of the sweat lodge and the scrap construction wood used to heat the Grandfather Stones. It's some weird combination of chemicals that apparently made especially sensitive participants feel they were fine when they were actually dying. Supposedly, Angel Valley made Mr Ray the 'fall guy' and threw him to the wolves in order to save themselves. I think it was one of the coroners who got drunk and spilled the beans. Have any of you heard this rumor?

GeorgeReynolds
GeorgeReynolds

Today the soft, wimp, couch potato warrior wannabe witness was asked about “The Samural Game”. She immediately started to smile. There was no feeling of dread and fear, as the media wanted to portray the game. Ray played the part of God and she was a priest who was allowed to ask God questions. I believe the penalty for breaking silence was to allegorically die. It meant you dropped on the spot and remained motionless and silent for hours. When asked what she expected to gain from the game she wasn't certain. That's all I needed to hear. Here is a dimwit of a woman who participates in a game with uncomfortable penalties. She doesn't know exactly why she is playing and she doesn't even bother to ask anyone afterward what she was supposed to gain from the experience. Some “warrior”. I believe The Samurai game was to teach people to take responsibility for their actions and to force them to develop essential inner-silence and stillness by placing a silence penalty if silence was broken

GeorgeReynolds
GeorgeReynolds

From what I have seen of the two witnesses, there is no indication from them that Mr Ray conducted the sweat lodge in a reckless manner. The first soft, overweight, couch potato, wimp, wannabe “warrior” witness, said yesterday, that at one point when she was concerned about one of the people who eventually died, Kirby Brown I believe, she called out five times in a loud voice that she felt there was something wrong with Kirby. Finally, someone in the dimly lit structure said she was okay. So what is everyone else in the sweat lodge supposed to believe? That Kirby Brown was okay, right?

From today's soft, couch potato, wannabe warrior witness, who was right next to Liz Neuman (one of the people who died), there was no indication she was afraid to approach Mr Ray when she was concerned about Liz Neuman. Mr Ray told this witness that Liz had done this before and she knew what she was doing. The witness then went back to Liz and asked her if she was okay. Liz said she was fine. What is this woman supposed to believe? I mean, this is a couch potato, soft, wannabe warrior of a woman who, I believe, stayed in the sweat lodge the entire time, lying down, with Liz Neuman leaning against her leg (I believe). This couch potato wannabe warrior endured the entire event and suffered no permanent damage. Liz Neuman was experienced with the sweat lodge and said she was fine. What are people supposed to believe? If you are concerned about someone in a sauna and they say they are fine what are you to do, ESPECIALLY, if they paid big money to be in that particular sauna? You believe them, right?

This whole trial is based on the assumption that Mr Ray conducted the sweat lodge in a reckless manner. I believe, if he did so the State of Arizona has the legal right to break the liability waiver the participants signed and then convict James Arthur Ray of manslaughter. So far there is NO INDICATION WHATSOEVER that Mr Ray conducted the sweat lodge in a reckless manner. Today the witness said that, at one point, a participant close to her said something to the effect, 'I've got to get out!' the person got up and left the sweat lodge. The person did not say, 'I want to get out, but I'm afraid of Mr Ray'. That's what this case is all about. It's about trying to prove that people stayed in the sweat lodge against their better judgment because they were afraid of Mr Ray. So far there is no indication whatsoever that people who wanted to leave the sweat lodge were afraid to do so because of Mr Ray. A couch potato, wimp, warrior wannabe endured the entire event, I believe, without ever leaving the sweat lodge. Whenever asked, Liz Neuman said she was okay. What more needs to be determined?

Then we have the death of the third person, James Shore. A supposedly athletic guy who helped someone out of the sweat lodge when they needed to leave then came back into the sweat lodge. What does that say? That there was an indication the man was actually dying? I don't think so! What do you think this guy said when asked if he was okay?

The death of Liz Neuman was an accident! Liz was certain she was okay when she wasn't. Mr Ray cannot know what you, as an individual, can or cannot endure. That is YOUR responsibility as a mature adult. There is no indication Mr Ray conducted the sweat lodge in a reckless manner. There is no indication that people were afraid to approach him. There is no indication that people were afraid to leave if they felt they could not endure the event thus the liability waiver cannot be broken and the people are bound to keep the written promises they made, period!

CASE CLOSED

Lee Majorbig
Lee Majorbig

I was in the Army and whenever I did my best to improve my run, or when I went on those long full pack marches, there were times I felt I was going to die. It is up to each and everyone of us to learn the difference between what we think we can endure and what we actually can endure. If that construction wood used to heat the rocks had termite killing chemicals sprayed into it the people who were especially sensitive to those fumes were most probably the people who were injured or died. Plus, from my studies, sweat lodges are not supposed to be covered in non-breathable vinyl tarps. Such a sweat lodge could indeed be a death trap.

dagobarbz
dagobarbz

Don't forget, he led his little "Warriors" on a two day hike in the hills without water before stuffing them in a sweat lodge.

You can only survive 3 days without water. They were two down, and sweat lodge makes three.

dagobarbz
dagobarbz

How bloody convenient that this scam artist's lawyers have focused on "tainted blankets" over the sweat lodge. Because Angel Valley destroyed that evidence.

Also laughing at your source...jamesray.com

Wake up, true believer. He's a fraud, a con man, an ex-Scientologist who learned how to rip people off at L. Ron Hubbard's knee.

Learn some critical thinking skills to counter that woo! Not Ray's fault? LOL, of course it is! He's the genius who put the whole silly "Warrior" program together! The prisons are full of people who insist nothing was their fault.

If that con man doesn't do prison time, I think there's a certain internet hivemind who might just give James Arthur Ray a little lovin.

renatae
renatae

"If YOU went to that workshop, with any one of the three people who eventually died, and lasted till half-way though the last round of the sweat lodge you would have said something like, 'That's it for me, I've got to get out. Are you doing okay?'"

As any person of reasonable judgment would have done - in fact, most would not have followed him on a starvation/dehydration trek in the first place - which proves this man held sway over them in a cultish manner. All of which apparently wound up being the proximal cause of their deaths, when combined with his arrogance and poor judgment.

dagobarbz
dagobarbz

Ya know what? I would have called shenanigans at the point that ignorant guru wannabe started trekking us out into the hills for a two day jaunt without water.

It's not that Ray wasn't concerned because he trusted the people. He wasn't concerned because he was too damned ignorant to be concerned. You die after three days without water. Being shoved in a sweat lodge after two days without water, well, the stupidity of that is self-explanatory.

By "accident," you surely must mean "unforeseen crisis." Because bad things happen to dehydrated people in sweat lodges, so if anyone had a freaking clue about human physiology none of this would have happened.

dagobarbz
dagobarbz

LOL, you guys...coming out of the woodwork to support this ex-Scientologist con man. Sometimes the sheep have to be beaten back from the attraction of wolves.

You guys blathering the nonsense about "cultural warriors" are nothing more than suckers. You want a hike? I'll take you on one with water. I'll introduce you to wildlife. I won't charge you thousands for the privilege, either. Old bozo north of this post, babbling about "soft, wimp couch potatos" are simply quoting Ray. If you're afraid of potatoism, get up off the couch yourself and do something. You don't have to pay a con man to motivate you. That's what the staff at the YMCA are for.

Finally, people, pay attention. You can survive for 3 days without water. That is a fact.Ray took his people on a 2 day ramble through the Arizona hills, WITHOUT WATER.That too, is a fact.

So you have already dehydrated people being crammed into a sweat lodge to extract the last few drops of fluid from them. This is irresponsible ignorance on Ray's part. Wake up, you cash cows. You're still a bunch of soft, wimpy couch potatos, only now Ray has your money. LOL, suckers.

renatae
renatae

This despicable blather about "soft, wimp, couch potato warrior wannabe witnesses" would be comical if not so tragic. Ray preys on people of this sort who think he has some sort of secret to the kingdom, all the while being led like sheep. Following this maniacal egotist and his delusional claims, his victims are already behind the 8-ball because he has targeted them as psychological weaklings without common sense.

It turns out, they were not even told about the sorts of "events" they would be participating in. No one who had been through them were allowed to talk about them. He told them to trust him and "the process." They'd already been primed to follow him blindly at his other meetings. Once at this event, they only knew of the exercises as they occurred. Before the lodge, he told them not to think that symptoms of vomiting and passing out would mean they were in trouble. He said that they would feel like they were dying,but that they would be safe. He told them they were "good enough" to overcome these things and achieve a reward from it in their "journey." They couldn't exercise an ounce of judgment *before* he tortured, starved, exhausted and dehydrated them, proven by the fact they paid thousands and then allowed themselves to be tortured for the privilege. Add the peer pressure and the fact they could not properly assess their physical condition due to the deprivations and you have people incompetent to make sound decisions, as evidenced by the fact so many became ill, yet stuck around.

Also, he went out of his way to make the lodge hotter in 2008, even though people were vomiting and prostrate from his first experiment in 2007. He told them to lower the ceiling so it would be hotter. He claimed to be "trained" in making these lodges, yet he kept his subjects in there twice as long as supposed to and added more than 3 times the stones normally used. He would sit by the door, where it was cool, and persuade people they were "better than that" if they wanted to leave. They were not supposed to leave except by passing right by him. Directly after the tragedy of 2009, he had his workers burn the lodge materials as part of a "ceremony." It appears he later pointed the finger at Angel Valley for both the construction of the lodge and the destruction of the materials.

The fact that you call people who made it completely through this ordeal "wimp wannnabe couch potatoes" shows how deluded you are.

SharonHope
SharonHope

Then they should have had the sense to get out of the sweat lodge and STAY OUT! When asked, they said they were fine. Everyone believed them when they said they were fine. YOU would have believed them too! Don't forget

renatae
renatae

Most of my reply I have moved below appropriate post by George.

Ray also had his workers douse them with cold water from hoses after they exited the tent, and some did not become ill until after the inappropriate temperature water was used on them. Heat stroke victims should be cooled down with lukewarm, not cold water. He obviously did not research proper methods for this sort of exercise and did things his own way. He did not exhibit remorse for what happened due to his tactics, either.

SedonaCowboy
SedonaCowboy

Dago, it is the same person, a demented troll who calls himself Lee Kuan Major. Just cut and paste ad of the comments by any of these posters and you will see the same tripe all over the internet blog community posted under numerous names. He pretends to be numerous people in order to fool blog readers and posters into thinking that there are hundreds of people who feel the same as he does. He has been banned form many reputable sites and is also forced to use his pseudonyms to post because of this. Ignore him, most people following the case know it is the person and no one is fooled. He is apparently a follower of JAR, a former employee or is in some way connected to him. Don't waste your breath or time on replying to him.

dagobarbz
dagobarbz

You clearly don't understand the power peer pressure holds. Ray was mocking the "weak," that is, the ppl with the good sense to leave. Peer pressure can make people do strange and idiotic things. Nobody wants to stand out as the weakling, the lame spud who couldn't hack it.

By all accounts, there was an atmosphere of sheepish obedience directed by Ray. There is a similar situation with people in Scientology prison camps. They say they're fine. Twenty years later when they finally escape, they say they were anything BUT fine, so people under the influence of group think really aren't reliable.

When they say "fine," they might mean, "I'm on the verge of death, but my good standing in the group is worth it."

SharonHope
SharonHope

So far none of the witnesses said that Ray was "mocking" the weak. I would imagine if he was it would already have been pounced upon by the prosecution. It was never mentioned. You are believing lies!

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