|New Ray trial request fails|
|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Thursday, 22 September 2011 00:00|
There will be no new trial for convicted felon James Arthur Ray after a ruling last week by Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow.
Ray, 53, a motivational speaker and self-help author was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide by a jury following a months-long trial in Camp Verde.
The conviction resulted from a fatal incident at an October 2009 weekend event, held at the Angel Valley Retreat Center outside of Sedona.
Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Minnesota, Kirby Brown, 38, of New York and James Shore, 40, of Wisconsin, died after participating in a sweat lodge ceremony held in a large tentlike structure that was heated to high temperatures with water poured on hot rocks.
The ceremony came at the end of a weeklong Spiritual Warrior event, a $10,000-a-head seminar hosted by Ray’s company, James Ray International.
Brown and Shore were pronounced dead the day of the event; Neuman never regained consciousness and died days later in the hospital.
Ray’s attorneys, citing alleged systematic prosecutorial misconduct throughout the court proceedings, requested that Darrow grant Ray a new trial a little over a month ago.
In a hearing held in Prescott on Sept. 14, Darrow denied the request without going into further detail.
A presentencing hearing is set for this week before the actual sentencing phase begins Monday, Sept. 26.
All of the proceedings in the case have been moved to Prescott following an administrative shuffling of judicial assignments in the county superior court earlier this month.
Also on Sept. 14, Ray’s attorneys submitted a list of 19 witnesses they intend to call on their client’s behalf during proceedings this week, including doctors and family members.
The defense is also asking Darrow to prevent the state from introducing certain evidence during this week’s presentencing hearing, arguing that since the hearing to determine any aggravating factors that could lengthen Ray’s sentencing has passed, bringing in this new evidence, in the form of some letters, would equate to putting Ray through a second aggravation hearing and violate his constitutional right to due process.
The defense wants the prosecution to only be allowed to bring in evidence relevant to a focused rebuttal of the defense’s arguments.
Ray faces a maximum of just over 11 years in prison.