James Arthur Ray, a new-age and self-help guru was found guilty of triple negligent manslaughter during a sweat lodge ceremony.
On Wednesday the verdict was read to him after a four months trial finally declaring him guilty of having caused the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38, from Westtown, NY; Liz Neuman, 49, from Prior Lake, MN; and James Shore, 40, from Milwaukee, WI.
Ray was stunned when the verdicts were read. Sheila Polk, leading hte prosecution, originally pursued a more serious verdict arguing Ray should have been aware of the immediate risk of death for participants, but did not regard this properly.
The fatal sweating lodge session was part of a five day seminar to overcome one's limitations. Price: $10,000 per person. Every participant signed a waiver, which warned of risks, which included death.
In a recording played during the court sessions Ray said: You will have to get to a point to where you surrender and it's O.K. to die. According to witnesses at the trial this recording was played inside sweating lodge and was followed by indescribable scenes of ill and exhausted people being dragged out of the lodge.
Emergency vehicles brought 21 out of the about 50 participants, who were cramped into the lodge to hospitals at the end of that day.
Now Mr. Ray was found guilty of these charges against him. The penalty can still from probation to 30 years in prison.
After the reading of the verdict the persecutor asked Judge Warren R. Darrow to order Ray into custody, but the request was denied.