The man convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people during a sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona has been sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was handed down a few hours ago in a Yavapai County courtroom.
Self-help author James Arthur Ray will spend two years in prison and pay more than fifty seven thousand dollars in restitution for his conviction earlier this year of 3 counts of negligent homicide. In 2009, dozens of people attended Ray’s so-called “Spiritual Warrior” retreat near Sedona, which included a sweat lodge ceremony. Three people died as a result of the heat inside the lodge, and many others became six. Some survivors told jurors that despite the fact that people were becoming ill and fainting, Ray encouraged them to stay inside the sweltering lodge to purify their bodies. Ray pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintained the deaths were a tragic accident. However, a jury found him guilty on three counts of negligent homicide, rejecting more serious charges of manslaughter. Ray had been facing up to nine years in prison.