|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Saturday, 17 September 2011 00:00|
Ongoing court proceedings for convicted self-help author and motivational speaker James Arthur Ray will be moved from Camp Verde to Prescott after the Yavapai County Superior Court assigned last week the presiding judge to work from of the county seat.
Ray, 53, was convicted in June for three counts of negligent homicide in the October 2009 deaths of Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Minnesota, Kirby Brown, 38, of New York, and James Shore, 40, of Wisconsin, who died after participating in a sweat lodge ceremony held 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, at the Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona.
Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow has presided over the lengthy case following Ray’s February 2010 arrest when he turned himself in to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. Darrow served in Camp Verde for six years.
An administrative order issued by presiding Judge David Mackey last week means Darrow will now be working out of the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott, where after wrapping up some of his current work, he will primarily be handling civil cases.
Darrow was expected to begin working in the new location Monday, Sept. 12, after press time.
Judge Patricia Trebech, appointed to the bench earlier this year, will now be working out of Camp Verde.
A hearing concerning the mitigation phase of Ray’s sentencing, where attorneys argue for reasons that could see Ray get a potentially lighter or harsher sentence, is scheduled to begin in Prescott on Monday, Sept. 19. Ray faces a maximum sentence of just over 11 years in prison. As of Sept. 2, the defense had provided a list of 27 potential witnesses to be called during the mitigation phase, according to court documents.
Darrow has yet to rule on a defense request to grant Ray a new trial. Barring that, sentencing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26.
Darrow also denied Thursday a defense request to drop the mitigation phase all together. The defense argued that without a ruling on its request for a new trial, it had yet to make travel arrangements for the witnesses it would call, many of whom are from out of state.
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