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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

James Ray Waiting for his Verdict

This is the monument that greets if you drive in to Camp Verde, a small town in northern Arizona. If I had a better camera (and photographer) you could see the dramatic bird of prey soaring overhead. This is where "The Secret" motivational speaker James Arthur Ray is on trial for the deaths of three of his "Spiritual Warriors" died in a sweat lodge he was conducting.

Right now the jurors are deliberating and we trial watchers are all loitering in the hallways and benches while they do the tough work of deciding whether this charismatic should be convicted of a crime or if he should walk free.

His parents are here and some other loved ones. They sit on side of the courtroom, behind him. He is not in custody, so he is free to hug them and spend his breaks with them.

I continue to talk to locals when I can, and so many of them mention to me that the people in the sweat lodge had no reason to know the terrain or the importance of water and the sneaky lethal nature of heat.

Some focus on his personality. One cashier said he himself had many years ago had signed up for some EST (not related to or affiliated with James Ray) and had become disgusted with the methods. He said he could relate to people being taken in by a charismatic personality and not knowing what they were getting into.

One lady said when the sweat lodge defense started talking about the wood used in the lodge as the possible culprit, she said, "boy, those lawyers must thing we're stupid around here."

Even though the Casey Anthony trial has dominated the airwaves for the last few weeks, the national media has not abandoned the sweat lodge trial. Major network shows such as Dateline, InSession and others are still here, filling up the back rows and keeping the cameras going. After the dust clears--between Florida and Arizona--expect to see some very good television coming out of these fine producers, reporters and videographers.


  1. Crazy trial huh Camille. I've been following it with some interest and found the book by Connie Joy "Tragedy in Sedona" very eye opening to Ray's methods and mindset.

    I'm trying to be neutral however when the outcome does come out because this is a human being we are talking about and him being put away is not "justice" in my eyes for those whose lives were taken.

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  3. It is a highly unusual trial, no question about that. What exactly would be "justice" for those who died? The justice system, unhappily, really has no way of providing it. I'm sure all the families would not care one bit what happened to James Ray if they could just get their loved ones back.

    Now that Mr. Ray has been found guilty of the Negligent Homicide, it will be a much lower standard for him to fight on his appeals of which I'm certainly there will be many, all vigorous.

    Thanks for visiting here! How do you feel about the verdict now that it's out?