Opening arguments begin in Ariz. sweat lodge case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Opening arguments begin in Ariz. sweat lodge case

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. (AP) -- Prosecutors in central Arizona have painted self-help guru James Arthur Ray as a reckless man.

They contend he conditioned dozens of people to trust him before leading them in a sweltering sweat lodge ceremony that turned deadly.

Starting Tuesday, they'll try to convince a jury that Ray is to blame for the deaths of 38-year-old Kirby Brown of Westtown, N.Y.; 40-year-old James Shore of Milwaukee; and 49-year-old Liz Neuman of Prior Lake, Minn.

Ray's attorneys say the participants were well aware of the health risks and voluntarily took part in the ceremony. They say no one could have predicted the deaths.

Ray has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter stemming from the October 2009 ceremony he conducted near Sedona.

Four months have been set aside for the trial.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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