Spiritual guru James Arthur Ray was found guilty of homicide in the case of the three deaths in Arizona, Associated Press and CBS report.
The self-help author led a deadly sweat lodge ceremony which led to the deaths of three people. He was accused of negligent homicide. The verdict was expected on Wednesday. And it was: guilty. After a trial that lasted four months, the jurors announced result of their deliberation.
When the verdict was made public, the family of the victims, who were holding their hands, were overwhelmed by the news. The family of the accused sat beside him. However, Ray never moved a muscle. He showed no reaction while hearing the verdict. The prosecutors asked to take Ray into custody immediately but the judge said no.
The three victims participated in the October 2009 sweat lodge, along with about 50 other people. The seminar held by the spiritual guru near Sedona was called Spiritual Warrior” and was meant to last five days. The three people died in the sauna-like ceremony which was meant to provide spiritual purification. Of the 50 people, three died, 18 were hospitalized and many more were given water to cool down. It is not clear yet if the death and illnesses were caused by the heat of by the toxins.
The prosecutors and the defense attorneys were arguing about this during the trial. The attorneys also blamed the death on faith, sustaining the idea that they were just a tragic accident. On the other hand, prosecutors accuse Ray of recklessly causing the fatalities.
Before entering the sweat lodge rays used to warn the participants that they would surely feel like dying, but will do so only on a metaphorically method. “The true spiritual warrior has conquered death and therefore has no fear or enemies in this lifetime or the next, because the greatest fear you’ll ever experience is the fear of what? Death” Ray said into a recording which was played during the trial. “You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it’s OK to die.”
The participants to his program paid 10,000 dollars to enter the program and were taken out of the two-hour sweat lodge experience more dead than alive.