Self-help guru James Ray convicted in sweat lodge deaths
James Arthur Ray was acquitted of manslaughter charges in the deaths of three followers in 2009.
June 22nd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Self-help guru James Ray convicted in sweat lodge deaths

An Arizona jury has found James Ray guilty of negligent homicide in the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Lizbeth Marie Neuman. With its decision, the jury acquitted the self-help guru of manslaughter charges.

Prosecutors claimed Ray's recklessness in operating the sweat lodge caused the deaths of Brown, 38, of Westtown, New York; Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; and Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minnesota.They died after participating in a sweat lodge ceremony organized and led by Ray in 2009.

At least 15 others who took part in the sweat lodge ceremony became ill. More than 40 others were uninjured.

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Crime
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Hot off the press

    yea buts its the dry heat.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cindy

    I guess all of those "SECRET" positive thoughts didn't help you did it Mr. Ray? Goes to show that when fame & fortune goes to your head and you focus so much on the all mighty dollar you forget about the important things in life – like the LIVES of others – rot in hell Mr. Ray I hope you become an inmates "special" friend!

    June 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. V

    Good, i'm sure it was "no sweat" for the jury to find him guilty 🙂

    June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArizonaYankee

      It's Arizona, we generally get it right, unless Obama, or Holder interfere.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nate

    Justice done well. I foresaw no other outcome.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nina


    June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. No Sweat

    I'll have to read a real newspaper for the details

    June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Real world

      Why? Is CNN the only online news source? Or just the only one you know about?

      June 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Wright

    Not that the people who died, who were suppossedly intelligent and got into a tent with sauna temperatures to find out the meaning of life shouldn't be responsible for their own deaths!

    June 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lejaune

    Maybe he will now help the prison inmates to be successful.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jane Doe

    It should have been manslaughter. You cant sit there and tell me this man did NOT know that there could/would be complications when you put people in 150+ degree confinement. He is at the TOP of the LOSER list.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • junior

      Because of course the idiots that died didn't have ANY personal responsibility in their own deaths. No one held a gun to their stupid heads, no one forced them to pay $10,000 each either. Just be glad only these 3 idiots died.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoniB

      The trouble is, Junior, this was the culmination of a week of indoctrination. Same techniques that cults use to brainwash their followers. Intimidation and peer judgement are a very powerful way to control individuals. Plus these people paid big bucks to this guy to show them "the way." I admire you if you have NEVER been intimidated by anyone in your life and have ALWAYS been self-confident. I also think you'd be lying if you said that was true.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GI JOE

    . . . and until the military gets smart and starts making lighter weight uniforms and allows soldiers to wear shorts like the British . . . they too should be found negligent for heat related deaths.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoniB

      Same with the Phoenix PD. It's 110 degrees out there right now and those men and women wear black uniforms with no hats.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jv

    Too bad no one can acquit him of being an idiot.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeyEugene

      You mean "convict", not "acquit", right?

      June 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maxine

    Well, for someone who spent his entire trial tweeting and acting like it wasn't a big deal, I say justice was served.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Comment Maker

    That's what they all get for taking another cultures spiritual ceremonies and exploiting them.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • truenative


      June 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shneeky

    I have a serious question: Isn't negligent homicide a MORE serious charge than manslaughter??

    June 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Manslaughter is a Class 2 Felony in AZ, whereas negligent homicide is a Class 4.. Class 2 carries a 7-21 mandatory prison sentence.. Class 4 only carries a 2.5 yr mandatory sentence, which can be reduced during sentencing, if permitted.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      Yes, negligent homicide is worse then manslaughter. Manslaughter is accidently killing someone, having zero intent to kill someone yet you did.

      Negligent homicide is someone dieing because you neglected to take the proper course of actions to ensure this would not happen.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbo

      I thought so too at first, but i guess negligent homicide would be leaving your kid in the car while it's too hot and going in to shop and they die

      Where manslaughter is killing your wife in jealous rage after finding her in bed with your dad..

      June 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbo

      manslaughter is murder with consideration of the state of mind. it is worse.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shneeky

      Ok, I guess then the article does make sense because it sounded like he got off easier, but the charges seemed backwards.

      June 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ravi999

    After the deaths, this guy conducted a conference call with the other victims and said that the dead ones were "having so much fun" outside their bodies that they didn't want to return.
    Then he offered $5000 refund for the families of the diseased. (The victims had paid $10,000)
    You die in my seminar, you get half the money back... What a deal!!
    I hope all these details are presented during the sentencing phase.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
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