Two days of evidentiary hearings last week gave a preview of testimony in the trial of James Arthur Ray, the self-help author and motivational speaker who stands accused of three cases of manslaughter.
The charges against the California-based man stem from deaths that took place at a special sweat lodge ceremony at Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona in October 2009 that was part of a $10,000-a-head weekend event.
Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Michigan, Kirby Brown, 38, of New York and James Shore, 40, of Wisconsin, died after exposure to conditions inside the sweat lodge.
Attorneys on both sides attempted to get to the nature of the ceremony; their attempts will persuade the court one way or another if events at past self-help ceremonies would be admissible at Ray’s trial, scheduled to begin in February.
Witnesses included volunteers who helped out at the sweat lodge event the night of the incident and at previous events.
The trial is set to begin Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow has set aside 65 days for the proceedings, to run three to four days a week from mid-February through mid-June, if necessary.
Ray has been excused from attending hearings in Camp Verde until his trial begins, unless his presence is demonstrated to be absolutely necessary.
Further hearings are scheduled for this weekBLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS