James Ray's trial date has been set for August 31st.
The autopsy reports show that Kirby Brown and James Shore died of heat stroke and Liz Neuman died of massive organ failure and hyper thermia from prolonged exposure to excessive heat.
The families of the victims wanted Judge Warren Darrow to withhold the autopsy photographs and all but the first and last pages of the autopsy report. Thankfully, he respected their wishes.
Please remember James, Liz and Kirby in your prayers today.
The Camp Verde Bugle reports that the trial should run from August 31 to approximately December 17th. If the trial continues the expected 56 days, jurors will only be paid $672.00 during that time, so only those who can afford to take that much time off will be able to judge whether Ray is guilty of manslaughter.
James Arthur Ray has plead not guilty to three counts of manslaughter. It's clear that he has the means to hire a legal team to engage in an extended legal battle to assure his acquittal. Since James Ray refused to issue any refunds, part of his defense may actually be financed with money from the deceased.
Arizona has been hit hard by the recession and very few lower to middle class people are likely to welcome extended jury duty. Consequently, James Ray is likely to have a disgruntled jury.
On the other hand, Ray may face a jury of individuals who also make their living selling spiritual quackery to unsuspecting tourists who may want to make an example of him to protect the fake-shame-man industry. Or they may be reluctant to make an example of Ray for fear of being prosecuted themselves one day.
What about the tendency of Arizona juries to nullify the law of criminal negligence? Can James Ray’s well -paid legal team convince a jury to reject the law out of concern for the fate of this particular defendant? Will plastic sweat lodge peddlers be willing to convict another plastic sweat lodge peddler?
Will the prosecution be able to assemble 12 people who can’t get out of jury duty and who are able to understand and follow the jury instructions? From the information I’ve gathered about Sedona, the jury may be composed predominantly of New Age enthusiasts who distrust logic and reason and are intellectually incapable of evaluating the evidence. Are there 12 people in Sedona who have 3-4 months to kill and who possess the basic cognitive skills to rationally evaluate the evidence and render a fair verdict?
I can just imagine the voir dire questions:
Do you believe that aliens from the Pleiades are influencing our lives on earth?
How often do you receive channeled messages from the archangel Michael?
How many times have you had your chakras aligned in a pay-to-pray sweat lodge?
What kind of sweat lodge are you currently running?
Do you believe the Universe is your cosmic ATM, willing to hand out all the prosperity you ask of it?
Can you see my aura right now?
I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.
For the latest updates on this case, follow the hashtags:
#jamesray or #deathlodge on twitter
Read More About It:
Fidel, N. (1991). Preeminently a political institution: The right of Arizona juries to nullify the law of criminal negligence. Arizona State Law Journal, 23, 1-60.
Horowitz, Irwin A. (2001). Jury Nullification: Legal and Psychological Perspectives. Brooklyn Law Review
March 19, 2010
Stephen Ray Interview Transcript
"I think he was grossly negligent and I think he should have to suffer the consequences of that." – Stephen Ray
Stephen Ray gave testimony that James Ray had a bucket of water that he used to splash himself and his assistants, but offered no relief to the participants who paid thousands of dollars for harmonic wealth. Ray also testified that James Ray was adamant about having everyone take a teaspoon full of salt, which only dehydrates a person faster.
"I mean there was a call that he had after which was supposed to be for participants and one of his underlings spoke up and said, 'the people that passed away were in another place and were having so much fun that they just didn't want to come back'. And I thought that was the biggest crock of crap that I've ever heard in my life." – Stephen Ray
Detective Diskin informs Stephen Ray that even if James Ray is acquitted, the Yavapai County prosecutor can still charge Ray with nearly 50 aggravated assaults on behalf of the survivors with neurological problems.
March 18, 2010
Records in Arizona sweat lodge case offer details
"Stephen Ray, who was among the 18 people hospitalized following the ceremony, said he hasn't recouped his sense of taste or smell and still has ringing in his ears, severe headaches and trouble sleeping.
He said "James Ray showed a callous disregard for the participants because of his own ego and greed."
The "accidental" ruling by the coroner will not change James Ray's prosecution status
Prescott Daily Courier
The main issue in the James Ray manslaughter case will be his recklessness and disregrad for human life.
Autopsy Report released 3/17/2010 by the Arizona Daily Star
Prescott E-news James Ray Appears In Court As Trial Date is Set
This report contains audios of the judge setting the trial date.
Crimesider: Sweat Lodge Autopsies Show People Died from Heat Stroke and Organ Failure
Autopsy reports released in AZ sweat lodge deaths
James Arthur Ray trial to take 3 to 4 months
Camp Verde Bugle:
James Ray trial to take up to 4 months
WKBT Channel 8
Judge issues orders in sweat lodge case
News Talk Radio 97.5
AZ Judge To Decide On Withholding Pics, Autopsy In Ray Case