James Ray Death Lodge Trial Nearing an End; Faces Nine Years in Prison For Sweat Lodge Deaths

Categories: Death Lodge
sweatlodge heat.jpg
New Times
The sentencing phase of the trial for convicted snake-oil salesman James Arthur Ray is coming to an end as prosecutors urge the judge in the case to sentence the Oprah-approved "self-help" guru to the maximum: nine years in prison.

Ray was convicted in September on three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people who'd paid thousands of dollars to attend his "Spiritual Warrior" retreat near Sedona.

Part of the retreat had participants crammed into a poorly ventilated, tiny sweat lodge. Dozens were injured during the sweat lodge event, and three people -- 49-year-old Liz Neuman, 38-year-old Kirby Brown, and 40-year-old James Shore -- died.

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.

Neuman of Prior Lake, Minnesota, died of multiple-organ failure after the ceremony. The other two victims, Brown, of Westtown, New York, and 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.

See more of our coverage on Ray here.

Ray's attorney's are arguing for leniency for their client. Rather than the nine years in prison proposed by the prosecution, Ray's attorneys are asking for probation.

The sentencing hearing comes to an end today.Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow will make his decision and sentence Ray tomorrow.
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39 comments
Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I find it interesting that Mr. Ray has made many dollars espousing the idea of 'self-help' to solve life's problems.

Then, at his age, he has his mother plead to the judge to keep him out of prison.

I think Mr. Ray needs to take responsibility for his actions and spend his time in prison trying to help those in prison who need his kind of help. If nothing else, he will have a captive audience.

But the pay won't be the same.

Leahiana
Leahiana

To James King - "snake oil salesman' type of writer.If you listened to his Collapse of your world CDs and aren't changed for the better, closer to God, more enlightened, more loving and peaceful, than you are the only one. Period. Mr Ray did make a bad decision, but is was an accident, an accident ! Yes, awful, but an accident ! And James Arthur Ray is a far better man than the judgmental ' writer' of this article.

Fed Up
Fed Up

The Titanic sinking was an accident too but someone was responsible for ordering all the boilers lit, for ordering full ahead full, for ignoring the ice warnings...result - the loss of 1700 lives. Someone had to pay and they did. Capt. Smith went down with his ship and White Star chairman J. Bruce Issmay was forced to retire. But Deayh Ray only killed three people accidentilly so lets tell him its OK bevause he's such a nice person and give him a walk.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

no, let's sentence him to the maximum for being a greedy jackass!

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Well, shoot. Then Mr. Ray is a better man than me too, because I happen to agree with Mr. King.

But I wouldn't take Mom to court to beg the judge for mercy to keep me out of prison.

Actually, now that I think of it there wouldn't have been an 'awful accident' if Mr. Ray had exercised good judgement when he conducted the sweat lodge, right? And he would still be out there selling his words to folks like yourself who need someone to tell them to learn to think for themselves.

Yes, Mr. Ray belongs in prison.

You can go there and visit him.

TWJ
TWJ

Wow!  How do you go from being convicted in the death of people to being a "convicted snake-oil salesman" in an opening sentence?  By having journalists give their opinion rather than fact.  Just a stupid way to judge others.

Fed Up
Fed Up

Thos is a blig - an electronic oped page. It is mrant to reflect the author's opinions

Erin Elizabeth
Erin Elizabeth

lets serve some justice. this has gone on long enough . put him a nice hot cell already!

Samstone
Samstone

In other words YOU ALSO cannot come up with so much as a SINGLE REASON that would justify Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton not having emergency personnel on duty that day for the two-hours of the JRI sweat lodge ceremony conducted on HIS PROPERTY using HIS SWEAT LODGE.

teknik1200
teknik1200

let's take a close look at the guy who said "you will feel like you are going to die, but you will be perfectly fine"

Restitutiontouscitizensfirst
Restitutiontouscitizensfirst

Nay.  There is an implicit understanding that they would not be lead to do something that could cause physical harm.  There was a trust built and then violated.  Sweat Lodge is NDN.  Only NDN's should run it.  And those NDN's should be trained to understand physical tolerances that can vary according to ethnicity and even to diet and therefore be supportive and not place feelings of fear of insult or rejection if the body simply cannot tolerate.  People have no business borrowing when it was not theirs to begin with. 

Fed Up
Fed Up

Three dead and 17 hospitalized and at least a dozen more who have admitted to being psychologically traumatized.  Nope, most didn’t suffer adverse effects.  Hey, while we're at it, lets call people dishonorable, Name calling, that's the honorable thing to do, right?

Samstone
Samstone

Most suffered no adverse effects from the JRI sweat lodge ceremony. THEIR  experiences count EVEN MORE!! Of course you can expect washouts at a marathon or any extreme sports activity, but responsible adults PROMISED in writing to take full responsibility for their actions at that event. THEY PROMISED and they should keep their promises no matter what ANY judge may say! That's what honorable people do, but obviously, you wouldn't know about honor. It has no meaning for the likes of you dishonorable.

Phinx57
Phinx57

Why didn't JAMES RAY hire the emergency personnel to be on hand? Because he didn't give a shit about these people and it would cost him MONEY!

Fed Up
Fed Up

No the people OPERATING the water park are responsible for your safety, just as James Ray, who was OPERATING this event was responsible for the safety of the participants.  There is a water park near me and the property owner lives in CA, not AZ but the park is operated by an AZ corporation.  Who is responsible for the safety of the visitors, the landlord or the managemnet company running the park?  The people running the park of course.  Also I would not say thatl one third of the JRI Death Lodge event participants who were hospitalized to be an insignificant number.  Stop making excuses under all your copy and paste posts and admit Ray IS responsible.

Samstone
Samstone

If you pay to go to a water park are you expected to bring your own lifeguard?

Ray's Hell
Ray's Hell

Give him his 9 years in the clink. And it's over with. Enough said. We're tired of this James Ray shit. 

Samstone
Samstone

The wise DO NOT wish bad things happening to those who have done them no personal wrong. Only losers do such things

teknik1200
teknik1200

killing three people through negligence is quite bad in the scale of things.

what are you his PR team?

Samstone
Samstone

In other words you cannot come up with so much as a SINGLE REASON that would justify Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton not having emergency personnel on duty that day for the two-hours of the JRI sweat lodge ceremony conducted on HIS PROPERTY using HIS SWEAT LODGE.

teknik1200
teknik1200

who put on the event again?

let's focus on the issue, mkay?

Samstone
Samstone

In other words (YOU ALSO) cannot come up with so much as a SINGLE REASON that would justify Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton not having emergency personnel on duty that day for the two-hours of the JRI sweat lodge ceremony conducted on HIS PROPERTY using HIS SWEAT LODGE.

Samstone
Samstone

BTW: Saying James Arthur Ray would not have liked Mr Hamilton hiring emergency personnel for those two-hours is not enough of an excuse for endangering the lives of those people in a sweat lodge Mr Hamilton KNEW Ray wanted hotter than ever before.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Enough already. We got it the first time.

Samstone
Samstone

BTW: Saying James Arthur Ray would not have liked Mr Hamilton hiring emergency personnel for those two-hours is not enoCan't answer this, can you. Three people died because Mr Hamilton did not do ANYTHING to protect those peopleLOOK, I ASK AGAIN: WHAT POSSIBLE EXCUSE COULD ANGEL VALLEY OWNER MR HAMILTON HAVE FOR NOT HIRING EMERGENCY PERSONNEL FOR THOSE TWO-HOURS OF THE JRI SWEAT LODGE CEREMONY? 

ugh of an excuse for endangering the lives of those people in a sweat lodge Mr Hamilton KNEW Ray wanted hotter than ever before.

teknik1200
teknik1200

it is the responsibility of the event holder to ensure all the proper safety measures are in place.

pass the buck much?

Samstone
Samstone

In other words ((YOU ALSO)) cannot come up with so much as a SINGLE REASON that would justify Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton not having emergency personnel on duty that day for the two-hours of the JRI sweat lodge ceremony conducted on HIS PROPERTY using HIS SWEAT LODGE.

Samstone
Samstone

I've asked this many times and you people who are against Mr Ray can't answer this, can you. Three people died because Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton did not do ANYTHING to protect those people

I ASK AGAIN: WHAT POSSIBLE EXCUSE COULD ANGEL VALLEY OWNER MR HAMILTON HAVE FOR NOT HIRING EMERGENCY PERSONNEL FOR THOSE TWO-HOURS OF THE JRI SWEAT LODGE CEREMONY? 

Native Guns
Native Guns

Pipe down, man. I got some good news for you. Your snake oil here is sentenced. Justice is served, the case is closed, and a dark chapter ends.

Get over it now.

teknik1200
teknik1200

IT WASN'T HIS EVENT

Samstone
Samstone

BUT IT WAS ON (((HIS))) PROPERTY USING (((HIS SWEATLODGE))) and that make Mr Hamilton DIRECTLY responsible for the people at that event!

Erin Elizabeth
Erin Elizabeth

wow nearly duplicate posts like yours are on MANY sites right now. James Arthur Ray's sheeple  might be out in droves but that won't keep him from burning in hell (and hopefully a nice hot prison cell with a nice hot prison mate named Bubba)

Leahiana
Leahiana

sick minded Erin. James A Ray is a kind person, a loving person, and it was an awful dreadful accident.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

oh really? I live in Yavapai county and I hoped they would fry the bastard. I don't believe in the death penalty but that is one case where I would have supported it.

Johnmbonk
Johnmbonk

Is that part of his teaching - calling people sick minded? You obviuosly learned about the laws of attraction

Jean D
Jean D

Hi Erin, Those posts are duplicate because they are from the same person. He uses hundreds of different names and was never a fan of James Ray. In fact, sometimes he seems to despise him. This guy trolls many sites is known for using the 3 parentheses on each side of his words to add power to them.

Fed Up
Fed Up

Its the same person.  he likes to cut and paste.  remember Kindergarten?  Cut out the flower and paste it on the construction paper - same concept.

Samstone
Samstone

In other words (((YOU ALSO))) cannot come up with so much as a SINGLE REASON that would justify Angel Valley owner Mr Hamilton not having emergency personnel on duty that day for the two-hours of the JRI sweat lodge ceremony conducted on HIS PROPERTY using HIS SWEAT LODGE.

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