Local and national media are reporting that the jury in the James Arthur Ray trial has convicted the self-help guru of negligent homicide in the deaths of three participants in a sweat lodge ceremony held in 2009 at a Sedona resort. Ray was not found guilty of the more serious charge of manslaughter. He faces a possible prison sentence of up to 11 years.
Video footage of closing remarks.
“Jurors deliberated a bit less than eight hours over two days. They began deliberating Tuesday, 16 weeks to the day after the trial began March 1 in Yavapai County Superior Court. [...] Juror questions to the two Arizona medical examiners testifying for the prosecution ranged from what advice one would give people about to participate in a sweat-lodge event to whether a body could sweat properly in a highly humid environment, to how much organophosphates it would take to kill someone in two hours. Jurors asked various witnesses who took part in the event how it compared to previous sweat lodges, how much hotter it was and whether Ray helped people after the ceremony.”
This is big news, and I’ll be providing both Native and Pagan reactions to this decision soon.
ADDENDUM: Here’s video of the verdict being read.