James Arthur Ray
June 23, 2011 by staff
James Arthur Ray, After more than seven hours of deliberation, the jury found motivational speaker and author James Arthur Ray guilty of negligent homicide and not guilty of more serious charges of murder. Ray, 53, was indicted in October 2009, the death of Kirby Brown, James and Liz Coast Neuman, who died after a ceremony led by the sweat Ray presented at the Spiritual Retreat Center Angel Valley near Sedona.
Ray, who sat at the announcement, reacted with only a quick drink and deep that the verdicts were read one by one. Tears seemed to be blinking when the clerk gave the final verdict of guilty for manslaughter by negligence of the bank.
Judge Warren Darrow dismissed the jury for the day, but warned that her work is not done yet. The hearing is expected to last two days, will begin Tuesday morning, during which jurors consider the approval of potential aggravating factors to be presented to the court at sentencing.
If you choose to recognize Darrow aggravating factors in the conviction of a felony class 4 and run the sentences for each victim in a row, Ray could face as long as 11.25 years in prison. The presumed (normal) term is two years for each offense, and all charges are eligible for parole.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who conducted a vigorous four-month prosecution in the trial, which began after 17 months of research and preparation, Ray asked to be taken into custody immediately after the verdict.
Darrow, however, denied that request, and Ray remains free on bail and 525,000.
Polk and the defense of Luis Li, Truc Do, and Tom Kelly, declined comment. Polk cited the gag order that has been in force since before the trial began.
Ray and her parents left the court through a side door, avoiding a swarm of television cameras waiting outside the main entrance.
The trial began with jury selection on February 15, and opening statements took place on March 1. The procedure is complicated by numerous defense motions for mistrial, the most notable occurred in mid-April when the prosecution discovered that Darrow had been a violation of the disclosure by withholding exculpatory evidence, possibly, defense. The mistrial motion was denied most recent Wednesday.
Eighteen participants in the sweat lodge unfortunate testified during the trial, like many doctors, researchers and staff of Angel Valley. The owners of retirement, Michael and Amyra Hamilton, also testified in the state.
Primo Brown Kirby Brown and family spokesman Tom McFeeley said via email after the verdict.
“The outcome of this trial will not bring” closure “of our pain,” wrote McFeeley. “There is no way to fill the gaping hole that let Kirby’s death in our family. Our hearts are broken forever by her death, like our lives are forever blessed by her life.”
McFeeley said earlier in the day that he hopes the issue will continue in a court of appeals. He expressed her respect for the way Darrow conducted the trial and that “it was clearly intended to make a record Darrow clear so that people can not change their arguments later.”
Before they began their deliberations Tuesday, jurors listened intently as Polk said: “We have to prove that Mr. Ray knew that people were dying.”
The legal definition of murder requires proof that Ray “caused the death of another person and is aware of, and showed a conscious disregard of a substantial risk that his conduct would cause the death of another person.”
Negligent homicide, in contrast, requires proof that the defendant “caused the death of another person and not recognize a significant and unjustifiable risk that his conduct could cause death.”
Jurors apparently recognize a distinction between consciousnesses and recognize and come to a decision that satisfies the other representatives of the victims.
“I’m very happy,” Lilly said Clark’s cousin Liz Neuman, who has attended nearly every session of the trial. “We wanted to see how the system works and believe it has. We wanted a fair sentence and got one.”
Randy Neumann, Liz who divorced after 23 years of marriage, was also present to see the verdict, having traveled from Mexico to lend his support.
“I talked to our children and they were satisfied with the verdict,” he said. “We thought it was very fair.”
Mika and Cutler, who traveled from Utah for much of the evidence and Kirby Brown described as her best friend, said he was pleased with the outcome. She commended the jury for their perceptiveness.
“I am very pleased that the jury could see behind the smokescreen the defense put there,” he said. “The courtroom is a place for the cunning and Sheila Polk respectfully not participate. She gave the facts and gave the truth. Three people were killed and this is not a game. She has nothing to do with her antics.”
Polk plans to call at least nine witnesses at the hearing worsening next week, possibly including Kirby Brown’s mother, Virginia.
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