UPDATE: Self-help guru gets 6 years in sweat lodge deaths - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Self-help guru gets 6 years in sweat lodge deaths

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- A self-help author convicted of negligent homicide has been sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $57,000.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow handed down the sentence Friday in a central Arizona courtroom.

Ray's motivational mantra drew dozens of people to Sedona in October 2009 where they participated in a sweat lodge ceremony meant to purify their bodies.

The participants began showing signs of distress about halfway through the two-hour ceremony, and three died.

Ray insisted the deaths were a tragic accident. But a jury found him guilty on three counts of negligent homicide, rejecting the more serious charges of manslaughter.

Ray's potential sentence had ranged from probation to nine years in prison.

 

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- A self-help author convicted of negligent homicide stood before the families of three people who died in a sweat lodge ceremony he led and begged for forgiveness.

James Arthur Ray said Friday during his sentencing hearing that he would have stopped the ceremony had he known people were dying or in distress. He took full responsibility for the pain and anguish he says he caused the families of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman.

Ray was convicted on a trio of negligent homicide counts earlier this year. He asked a judge to grant him probation so he could care for ailing parents and rebuild his life. The families testified earlier Friday, pleading for the maximum nine-year prison sentence.

Ray led dozens of people in the ceremony near Sedona in 2009.

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

APNP-11-18-11 1233CST

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