Salty Droid >> bleep bloop

Salty Droid

James Arthur Ray Trial Updates

In October of 2009 :: James Arthur Ray’s $10,000 per head Spiritual Warrior seminar ended in calamity and tragedy. Three people were killed :: eighteen injured {many seriously} :: and thousands of followers were shocked to learn the true dark nature of the man they’d been paying large sums to follow.

James Arthur Ray’s trial for the manslaughter of James Shore :: Kirby Brown :: and Liz Neuman began March 1st 2011.

This page contains a summary of events :: important documents :: links :: and videos relating to the trial. It will be frequently updated with new information as the trial unfolds. Your participation is welcomed {/expected}.

The Sad Event

Ray’s faux “sweat lodge” occurred on the last day of the five day Spiritual Warrior seminar. In the early years of the Ray scam {2001 - 2005} :: Spiritual Warrior was the final seminar in a sequential series of ever more expensive events. Illustrated here by a graphic from one of Ray’s old sites …

But after the release of The Secret :: and his subsequent appearances on The Oprah :: Ray opened up all levels of The Journey of Power to anyone with a wallet. Still :: Spiritual Warrior was considered one of the “advanced” events :: and few {if any} participants at the 2009 fiasco were having their first James Arthur Ray experience.

A guide containing limited event information :: instructions :: and a very uncharitable liability waiver was mailed to participants in July 2009 …

As in almost all past iterations of the Spiritual Warrior “sweat lodge” :: multiple people ended up dangerously ill in 2009. But unlike past events :: in 2009 two participants died on site. The 911 call …

two people ... not breathing

Ray made no efforts to help the sick or dying. Neither James Shore nor Kirby Brown ever started breathing again. Liz Neuman died in an Arizona hospital nine days later :: after spending a week in a coma.

By the time Liz died :: Ray had already returned to his scam seminar road show.

The Arrest

Yavapai County immediately commenced an extensive investigation into the matter. They interviewed most of the 2009 participants :: and a great many past participants. Ray’s lawyers submitted a memo to the county prosecutor’s office explaining how it was all just a terrible accident that had been “devastating” to Mr. Ray. The memo argued that Mr. Ray had not been criminally negligent in the three deaths.

The prosecutor and the grand jury disagreed :: and on February 3rd 2010 :: James Arthur Ray was arrested and charged with three counts of manslaughter.


Ray’s bail was initially set at $5 million :: and he was unable to post the required bond. After a hearing to determine the status of his lack of harmonic wealth :: bail was reduced to $525,000. Once out on bail Ray immediately recommenced his remorseless and predatory marketing tactics.

His lawyers kept busy as well …

– Motions :: Memos :: and Orders – {links to pdf’s}

The defense filed multiple motions seeking to change the location of the trial :: the State replied :: the Court denied the request.

The defense sought to exclude the testimony of cult expert Rick Ross :: the State replied :: the Court will allow Ross’ testimony.

The defense filed a motion seeking to suppress evidence of Ray’s prior {bad} acts :: including evidence regarding past “sweat lodge” events gone wrong. The Court ruled partially in favor of that motion :: and the State requested reconsideration based on the relevance of the evidence to lesser included offenses.

Audio recordings of the 2009 Spiritual Warrior seminar were turned over to James Ray International after the State had executed its search warrant. When the State requested the recordings :: the defense refused to comply claiming a 5th Amendment protection. The State filed a motion to compel disclosure of the audios :: the defense plead the Fifth … and lost. The Court ordered disclosure of the audios.

Immediately after turning over the audios :: the defense filed a motion seeking to exclude them from evidence. The State didn’t like that idea :: and neither did the Court. The State’s motion for reconsideration of prior bad acts contains a partial transcript of those October 8th audio files.

In the final week before the trial :: Judge Darrow agreed to a request for live television coverage. Ray shouldn’t be too nervous :: he’s been on television before …

Find James Arthur Ray back on TV … this time on In Session :: as the triple manslaughter trial that he’s manifested upon himself plays out live.

>> bleep bloop

The Trial

{update 1 :: 2 March 2011}

Opening day opens :: like seemingly all things legal … delayed.

Opening statements didn’t begin until after the live TV coverage had ended :: but key parts were aired during the many lulls and delays of day two.

County Attorney Sheila Polk’s basic argument in her opening statement was that James Arthur Ray is totally guilty. She let Mr. Ray do most of that talking by playing damning chucks of Spiritual Warrior recordings that the State only recently received. Some of Mr. Ray’s greatest hits included …

  • “I am god” {pause for effect}

  • “… it’ll be hellacious hot”

  • “Why do I have to be me? Why can’t I just do a weenie sweat lodge like everyone else?”

  • “You’re going to feel like you’re dying … I guarantee it.”

Video – James Ray arrives with team California :: has trouble quashing his fear and repressing his rage :: and someone from CNN gets it EXACTLY right …

Luis Li’s open focused on the fact that the victims “were all adults”. They didn’t have to go into the “sweat lodge” :: and they didn’t have too stay.

Ray’s staff had been trained in CPR {a super useful skill as long people are willing to drop all the way dead}. There were hoses :: some fruit :: and some gatorade. By happenstance :: one of the unpaid volunteers was a nurse.

Li put up this graphic to illustrate Ray’s safety first approach …

What more could you want? People inside an enclosed space so hot that three people were killed had been pre-commanded to “remain alert” … done and done. Of course :: two of the people assigned to “help” were JRI’s own Josh Fredrickson and Greg Hartle. Hartle left after the fourth round {because it was a death trap} :: and Fredrickson smashed his head on one of the wood beams before himself leaving Mr. Shore :: Ms. Brown :: and Ms. Neuman to die. But that wouldn’t be a good thing to include in a defense open.

Li’s second safety first graphic was part of Ray’s pre-lodge instructions :: and was accompanied by the audio. The profanity was censored in the slide but not the audio :: and Li pre-apologized for it …

Don’t stampede :: it’s one of the first things in the OSHA handbook as well.

Apparently Li’s “they’re all adults” theory only applies to people dying in sweat boxes after 36 hours in the desert without food or sleep :: and not so much to members of the jury being subjected to ocular profanity.

Along with apologizing for Ray’s profanity :: Li showed how he’s totally not a city boy by repeatedly {like more than 10 times} referring to the victim pool as “folks”. They were just some folks :: folks like you and me. If folks wanted to live :: folks should have left the “sweat lodge” over fake god’s advice and gone to the watermelon station with Greg Hartle.

Then to the meat of the defense …

  1. They didn’t die from heat stroke. An expert who didn’t examine the bodies will testify that it’s a possibility.

  2. Maybe they were poisoned … or something.

Sounds good.

Good luck with that … God.

>>bleep bloop

[update 2 :: 3 March 2011 ]

Death Ray lamely speaketh {some JAR audios used by the prosecution during opening statements} …


Once again, no one can talk to God … for any reason, except a priest. And I AM GOD. If you talk to god for any reason, you immediately die.

... because you're dead

If death comes upon you, there is only one noble way to die, and that is,you fall immediately to the floor wherever you are. And of course because you’re dead, you cannot move a muscle …. ever. You cannot open you eyes … because you’re dead. You cannot scratch your nose, or shift your body in any way … because you’re dead.

opportunities ... stole by sleep

Q: If you want to do this kinda as full on as possible would you recommend not sleeping?

A: Great question. Yes. Uhm, because again … many great opportunities and experiences can be stole by sleep.

pitch darkness ... no water

You’ll be taken out in pitch darkness. You may have no flashlight. You may have no watch. You may have no cell phone or electronics of any kind. You can have no water, no food, or snacks. The only thing you might bring, which is really not traditional but I’m taking it easy on you, is you can bring your; sleeping bag, the clothes that you have on your back, your journal, and something to write with.

today's the day ... to die

You know, how many of you by show of hands, have recognized by now that even if you bought into the grand illusion that you would come to Sedona, to the desert, and, you, I warned you in advanced it was intense. Have I kept my word so far? Yeah … well we’re just getting started. Cause today’s the day. Today’s the day to put your life on the line, and all that you stand for. But you see, I warned you as much as possible in advance. And I even tell ya before you sign up, hey if you’re not willing to do the work …

altered states ... minus psychoactives

So here’s what’s going to happen, you will be in such an altered state, probably the most, you know… profound altered state you’ve ever been in minus psychoactives. Seriously, I mean, you, you may see visions.

why can't i be a weenie?

And it’s such a great metaphor. You know? If you’ve been on this journey with me for any amount of time you there’s all kinds of physical metaphors. And there’s probably nothing greater than the lodge … my lodge. Because at some point in time you just have to let go and say, “if I’m going to die it’s okay. Because I don’t ever die … not really. My body dies, I don’t die. You most likely will feel like your skin is going to fall off of your body. It’s hot … hellacious hot.

And even though I’m leading the lodge, I guarantee you, every single year I approach the lodge with great respect. I’ve been anticipating it all day long, because by about the second or third round I’m thinking, “why the hell am I me?” {lols} Why couldn’t I just do a weenie ass lodge like someone else does? And the reason is because … when you emerge … you will be a different person. Because when you’ve faced your own death, you’ve stared it in the eyes and you’ve overcome it, then life’s never the same … it’s really just not. It’s just not.

… thus spoke zarathustra … or something.

>> bleep bloop

{ update 3 :: 4 March 2011 }

Some TV personalities are wondering why a law firm like Munger Tolles & Olson would be handling this sort of criminal case. It seems curious :: and doesn’t exactly fit their profile …


Perhaps this graphic can help shed some light on the subject {and/or make things even more confusing} …

The photo is from James Ray International’s flickr stream :: according to the tags it was taken back stage at one of the Oprah tapings in 2007. On the left {in fur} is The Secret creator Rhonda Byrne. The text is from the acknowledgements to her new “book” :: The Power.

Everybody needs friends.

>> bleep bloop

{ update 4 :: 6 March 2011 }

The first week of the James Arthur Ray trial saw the complete testimony of just two and half witnesses :: about forty more and it’ll be all over {better pull up a chair} …

Melissa Phillips was the first witness in the case :: her calm and extensive testimony outlined the events of the Spiritual Warrior seminar for the jury for the first time.

Ms. Phillips discovered Mr. Ray while viewing The Secret. She read his ghostwritten book :: and then started attending the seminars. She testified that the Spiritual Warrior event was the last event in her “Journey of Power” :: and that she had attended all the other seminars in the “pyramid”.

The defense objected to the “Journey of Power” language being introduced :: then they strenuously objected …

Sidebar …


The defense wants to frame each victim’s relationship with Ray exclusively in terms of Spiritual Warrior 2009. But that is ultimately not going to be possible :: because it’s not factual. Almost all of the witnesses will testify to a long and expensive entanglement with Ray’s scripted conditioning machine.

The Prescott Daily Courier {a local rag} recapped Ms. Phillips first day testimony :: and detailed another context setback for the defense’s only-2009 approach …

“According to Polk, Ray began conducting annual sweats in 2003 at Angel Valley. Each time, she said, he would make them hotter.

In 2005, she said, people got sick after the ceremony. At that point, Polk said, he cooled them down for a couple of years until 2007, when he again began to “ratchet up the heat.”

Polk alluded to a 2008 incident in which one participant was hurt, and of course to 2009, when three people died.

The pattern of increasing heat, she said, was critical to the state’s decision to charge Ray with manslaughter. In fact, she said it was “ultimately why Mr. Ray was charged.”

On these grounds Judge Darrow has decided to allow evidence regarding past “sweat lodge” debacles. A ruling which any lawyer who has examined the record should have been anticipating.

Ms. Phillips left the death box after the third round :: but then she returned not wanting to disappoint herself :: her fellow warriors :: or Mr. Ray. She was worried about the chaos and danger within the lodge :: particularly Kirby’s labored breathing and deliriously enthusiastic {shouted} words of encouragement. She vocalized her concerns :: but was ignored :: or deliriously repudiated.

Jennifer Haley’s testimony was 2nd :: and 4th :: and was interrupted several times by Jennifer Haley.

Ms. Haley was at Spiritual Warrior 2009 as a member of the “Dream Team” {unpaid labor in team t-shirts}. She testified that she’d been called there :: fittingly enough :: by her dreams :: even though she didn’t believe in certain parts of the ceremony :: all of which she says she explained to Mr. Ray in her “essay”. Jennifer had already completed her “Journey of Power” :: but perhaps she came up just a tad short of total enlightenment.

Jennifer Haley is a hair stylist by trade {one imagines you’ll have better luck booking appointments in the afternoon}. Jennifer was one of the official head shavers in Death Ray’s totally not cult like head shaving ritual. But James Ray can’t do weenie head shavings like someone else might do :: so he demanded that Ms. Haley remove the plastic guard and go bare clippers. She told him that was a bad idea :: people could get burned or gouged :: “JUST DO IT!!” :: she reenacted him shouting :: “so I did” :: she said … then she kinda giggled.

As Yakuru pointed out on Twitter :: according to police interviews Jennifer Haley was one of the people who did CPR on Kirby Brown while James Ray was walking around being cross-eyed and useless.

Ms. Haley’s testimony is set to resume on Tuesday.

Laura Tucker was the State’s third witness :: the bulk of her testimony was compelling and disturbing. Laura is a college educated auto industry consultant from CanadaLand. She too was on the home stretch of her “Journey of Power” :: as The Daily Courier recounts …

Spiritual Warrior was the only one of Ray’s workshops she had yet to finish in the year and a half she had spent absorbing his teachings.

“I was on a track,” Tucker said. “My personal development was important at that time. I wanted to complete the series.”

Ms. Tucker was the first to die in the “God” “game”. Lying motionless on the ground :: feeling defeated and experiencing physical pain :: didn’t help Laura to personally develop.

After the no-food no-water vision quest :: Ray’s pre “sweat lodge” instructions had put Tucker even more ill at ease. She :: and her shaved head :: entered the lodge with trepidation. Liz Neuman sat down near Laura :: and when Laura expressed her concerns :: Liz helped calm them. Liz instructed Laura :: and several others :: to stay close to the ground :: and to get into Child’s Pose facing away from the rock pit. To help stave off the dark-and-scarys :: Liz and Laura agreed to occasionally tap on each other throughout.

Liz is nice :: and Laura felt better … until the rocks came in {possibly up to 15 on the first round}. For the first three rounds Laura was sure she’d need to leave :: but she was able to balance herself and remain. It was :: after all :: the end of her Journey. She had played “full on” :: and still was. For herself :: and for all the other warriors she’d already sacrificed so much for :: head to the back of the tent … shallow breaths … Laura stayed.

But something was wrong with Liz. She got into Child Pose facing the pit :: a bad idea … and counter to advice she’d given just a few piles of hot rocks ago. Liz stopped tapping :: and Laura started getting worried. Liz moved from Child’s Pose and leaned back against the front of Laura’s legs. The extra weight was hard for Laura to bear :: and increased her concerns about Liz’s condition. She expressed these concerns to James Arthur Ray in between rounds and was ignored. She tried again a second time after the next round :: this time more assertively …

“James, it’s Laura. I’m concerned about Liz.”

Death Ray’s answer …

“Liz has done this before and she knows what she’s doing.”

You can’t “know how” to survive in a dangerously hostile and uncontrolled situation like this :: you either just do or you just don’t … Liz didn’t.

The defense had the opportunity to cross-examine both Ms. Phillips and Ms. Tucker. In both instances :: the cross served to further expose Ray’s evil shenanigans. Paraphrasing Mr. Kelly to Ms. Phillips …

“You said you heard Lou Caci’s scream … and it was like a boyish scream … is that correct?”

Answers Ms. Phillips …

“I believe I called it an inhumane scream.”

The defense rests.

At another point :: attempting to illustrate how Ms. Phillips was an adult who could decide for herself :: Mr. Kelly asked/implicated …

“But you did say you left your circle during the vision quest … correct?”

Without pause she answers {almost defensively} …

“Two fingers! Only two fingers when I lost my balance…”

The defense rests … again.

More dangerous for the defense is an undercurrent that says if James Arthur Ray is guilty of manslaughter based on his inaction during the lodge :: then so is Laura Tucker … and every other participant who sensed the situation was out of control but did not take the drastic action necessary to keep others alive :: and out of comas. Ms. Tucker didn’t take any action to save Ms. Neuman :: so obviously she didn’t think things were too serious. She was closer to Ms. Neuman :: so if she didn’t sense the direness of the situation :: then how could James Ray?

But that line of questions :: under the pressure of the cameras and the witness chair :: risks bringing someone to a brutal epiphany. “I knew she was in deep trouble … but I did nothing. She was my friend … and I did nothing … because I allowed myself to become servile to the greed of James Ray. Because he made me into not me … and I’m not proud of it.”

If the defense doesn’t provoke that reaction by over-reaching on cross :: it’s open to Ms. Polk at any time. On her redirect :: in the last of her questions :: Ms. Polk asked Laura Tucker if she was still haunted by the event. Laura said yes :: with her eyes and her mouth. Ms. Polk asked the question again two more times in sequence :: slightly different phraseology each time. The defense’s objections to the repeat questions were sustained … and Ms. Polk let it go.

The tear-filled-truthful answer to the question :: “why didn’t you do more to help?” :: won’t keep James Arthur Ray out of jail. Stanley Milgram’s famous {and oft repeated} experiment showed that a large majority of human’s will submit to the most dire of demands from just about anyone projecting the aura of authority. Follow is humanity’s default state. In this case :: the authority figure was not a random researcher in a lab coat :: but an intentionally manipulative con man backed by the compounding effects of a large group pre-screened of dissent. Within such a situation :: there can be no freedom but escape.

The truth is that Laura Tucker did do something so incredibly brave. No food and no water and no sleep and no warning :: her own life in danger :: Laura Tucker kept her shit together and called out an assertive and dissenting notice of the danger to the resident authority figure.

Laura did what she could do :: thanks Laura.

James Arthur Ray … did not.

>> bleep bloop

{update 5 :: 8 March 2011}

Before Kirby Brown died in James Arthur Ray’s sacrilegious excuse for a sweat lodge :: she died in his god game. For hours she laid on the ground motionless :: freezing :: having to go to the bathroom so badly that she was swallowing down her own vomit.

She told James Ray and the other participants about her unpleasant god game experience during an open mic session that occurred just a few hours before the sweat lodge event. The prosecution wanted to play a portion of that tape for the jury to help show that Mr. Ray was on notice about the physical risks and discomforts his participants would be willing to endure in order to satisfy the “full on” mantra of his teachings. The defense objected to its admission because it would be prejudicial to allow the jury the to hear the voice of one of the dead victims.

Judge Darrow seemed concerned about the prejudice possibilities of the recording as well :: but stated {as previously} his preference for allowing evidence whenever possible. This was probably a close call :: and I’ll venture a pointless guess that it turned on the fact that Ray’s voice can be heard on the tape …

Kirby :: “… and then I puked … and then I sowllowed it down …”

Death Ray :: “wow”

Pretty strong evidence really :: so Judge Darrow allowed it over his own :: and the defenses :: concerns about its emotional nature.

Here’s the strange part :: the defense proceded to demand “context” … and so insisted that a huge portion of Kirby’s pre-death soliloquy to be played for the jury. The Judge pointed out that if 20 seconds {what the State wanted played} of a dead victims voice was prejudicial :: then surely 230 seconds that much more so … but no … they wanted them some “context” …

kirby brown ... as i lay dying

You can judge for yourself about the exculpatory value of the extra 200 seconds :: they mostly filled me with cry.

Eerily :: some of Kirby Brown’s last words …

“Our loved ones that have passed are there with us, and we can use them for help.”

Maybe :: but most definitely not in the same way as the ones who haven’t passed.

Kirby was obviously the kind of gal always looking for the bright-side :: maybe she could have see one here … cause I can’t.

>> bleep bloop

{update 6 :: 10 March 2011}

The defense is convinced that the jury needs context. If they are going to hear audio recordings from Spiritual Warrior :: then they should hear full versions and not just clips chosen by the prosecutor.

That’s a fair point {and there’s a rule about it} :: it’s just that EVERYTHING that comes out of Ray’s mouth sounds so unbelievably vile and disgusting if your not already washed in his washings. Prosecutors aren’t selecting the worst clips to try and make Ray look bad :: they are selecting the clips that they think they can get admitted. Much of what’s on the tapes would not be admissible if introduced by the prosecution. The State can’t attempt to introduce evidence just to show that Mr. Ray is a big fat jerk {even though he is}.

But the defense :: by insisting on context and completeness :: is itself introducing masses of evidence highly damaging to their highly damaging client.

So for that … I say thank you to Munger Tolles & Olson.

Here :: at the defense’s insistance :: is the full 45 min presentation that James Arthur Ray made to participants just a few minutes before they went into the sweat lodge. Many “folks” didn’t know there was going to be a sweat lodge :: and this was their only instruction …

DeathRay DeathLodge 101
DeathRay DeathLodge 102
DeathRay DeathLodge 103

Context FTW!

The defense rests.

>> bleep bloop

{update 7 :: 11 March 2011}

Jennifer Haley’s four day marathon of testimony started off strangely :: but ended strongly. During the first several hours it seemed a distinct possibility that Ms. Haley would float right out of the court room :: but she filled her boots with sand :: put on a blazer … and turned in a stellar performance for the truth. The truth :: aka the context :: is almost always bad for James Arthur Ray.

Ms. Haley had been to all the other Ray events :: including Spiritual Warrior 2007. She had also Dream Teamed previous events. By the time her dreams called her to the 2009 event :: she was starting to have her doubts about the fearless leader. Still :: something kept pulling her back … we’ll call it conditioning {since that’s what it was}.

While the participants were out on their no food no water vision quests :: the ladies of the Dream Team {including Ms. Haley and Ms. Neuman} went to Sedona and had pizza because the food at Angel Valley was terrible. They wanted to bring back a couple bottles of wine :: but along with terrible food Angel Valley sports a no-alcohol policy. Like the polite ladies they are :: they called back to Angel Valley and asked for permission to be adults.

Permission granted.

They had a few moments together :: drinking wine and talking … not much to ask considering that they were all putting in long hours doing “volunteer” labor at their own expense. But it was too much for Death Ray :: and he came storming out to chastise them for waking him up. How dare they laugh!

“Great opportunities can be stole by sleep” :: but James Arthur Ray was sleeping by 8pm.

Later :: when the nice lady laughter failed to subside to fake god satisfying levels :: he came out for a second round of scolding. This time he was meaner :: and more personal. He criticized them for drinking :: and told them that their “hearts weren’t in it.” Ms. Haley was offended :: everyone was offended. They talked about what to do and decided that they should confront Mr. Ray with their objections.

Once Ray got back in the room :: the plan changed as each expressed {often tearfully} what “they had learned” from disappointing Mr. Ray. Ms. Haley didn’t like the change of plans :: and went with her original plan of telling him she didn’t appreciate the poor treatment or the insults. Says the big bad guru man …

“Well if I’m going to be attacked them I’m leaving”

Then the other Dream Team members :: “all jumped on me” {half giggle} :: said Jennifer Haley.

Haley was feeling isolated and alone and says that Liz Neuman :: one of Ray’s original followers :: took the incident especially badly.

Truc Do tried to soften the sting of this story on cross examination :: but softening doesn’t seem to be her speciality. She foolishly asked Jennifer Haley to agree that this sad incident had nothing to do with Liz Neuman staying in the sweat lodge. Jennifer Haley did not agree. Ms. Do insisted :: so Ms. Haley also insisted that it absolutely had something to do with it. It was awesome! Ms. Do made the same mistake by tell-asking Ms. Haley about the likelihood that having your head shaved would make you more willing to stay in the lodge. Ms. Do forced Ms. Haley to insist that it was a reason for staying in the lodge. Ms. Haley said that in her experience as a hair dresser for 20 years :: women are especially vulnerable after changing their hair … and outside of camp Death Ray … she’d never done anything as drastic as a head shaving. Again … it was awesome! Had Ms. Polk tried to induce the same answers from Ms. Haley the defense’s objections would have been well sustained.

During the sweat lodge Jennifer Haley was stationed outside the lodge. She refused to be inside having had an unpleasant :: and dangerous :: experience in 2007. She had no medical training :: and was in no way prepared for her role as trauma nurse. But that didn’t stop her from asserting herself time and time again throughout that horrible afternoon. Forty five minutes of CPR on Kirby Brown :: getting vomit and dirt in her mouth :: doing her best with the worst … full on.

Dr. Nell Wagoner :: a gynecologist from Juneau Alaska :: was the State’s next witness. Dr. Wagoner had turned to Mr. Ray’s teachings while seeking to overcome a personal trauma. She was seated near the lodge opening :: very near to Mr. Ray. Dr. Wagoner witnessed at least five people being dragged out of the lodge unconscious. She was concerned when Lou Caci left the lodge badly injured :: but even more concerned when he was allowed to re-entered.

After the lodge :: Dr. Wagoner attempted to exit by going all the way around the circle in a clockwise fashion as per Death Ray’s pre-lodge instructions. The defense argues that this clockwise dictate was about safety :: but Dr. Wagoner testified that she thought it was more ceremonial. As she attempted to complete the ceremony :: one of the last to leave :: she noticed that the heat deeper within the lodge was far more overwhelming … and that three people were still unconscious on the ground. She told Mr. Ray that 911 should be called :: he said “it’s been taken care of”.

Dr. Wagoner saw Liz Neuman lying alone on the ground :: unconscious :: mouth foaming :: labored breathing … cold skin. She stayed with Liz until the paramedics arrived.

In Arizona :: after the lawyers are done questioning a witness :: the jury is given an opportunity to ask its own questions via the judge. The jury asked Dr. Wagoner if she noticed any emergency preparedness measures taken by either JRI or Angel Valley :: she said no.

The State’s next witness was Dennis Mehrevar. The Droid missed much of Mr. Mehrevar’s direct examination because the live feed was temporarily out of order :: but I already know the story. Dennis lost consciousness and was dragged out. He came to screaming and thinking he was dying :: James Ray didn’t care and just wanted him to shut up.

Luis Li’s cross of Mr. Mehrevar contained two :: almost unbelievably epic :: blunders. Mr. Li wanted Mr. Mehrevar to admit that :: like Mr. Ray :: he was offering “words of encouragement” to other participants about not leaving the lodge. Mr. Mehrevar said he wasn’t really being encouraging :: he was just parroting Mr. Ray’s words per the instructions. Mr. Li insisted that he was being encouraging :: and by doing so induced Dennis to say :: “I was just following what Mr. Ray was saying” … four consecutive times. I laughed :: but I’m sure Mr. Li won’t.

The second blunder was even more ridiculous. Li wanted Mr. Mehrevar to admit that if he had thought the situation was life threatening for others :: he obviously would have done something to stop the ceremony and get help. No dice. Dennis flat out says he wouldn’t have helped :: it wasn’t his place :: and in this situation he was totally concentrating on his own survival. Li :: shocked at the shockingness of this answer :: and trying to perform an emergency save … ended up soliciting the same response in several new ways including inserting himself into the hypothetical …

Q: “So if I was right here :: and you knew I was dying … you wouldn’t do anything to save me?”

A: “No.”

Once again … awesome.

Maybe {just maybe} it’s time for the defense attorneys in this case to face up to the FACT that extensive mind manipulation has been used against sympathetic citizens … and start acting {and lawyering} accordingly. Of course :: then they’d stop sucking … so I advise against it.

>> bleep bloop

[ Dr. Nell Wagoner ‘s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 9th} ]

[ Dennis Mehrevar’s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 9th} {March 10th} ]

{update 8 :: 15 March 2011}

Next witness!

The State calls Michael Olesen from :: you guessed it :: Canada.

Mr. Olesen was attending Spiritual Warrior with his wife :: but of course they lodged separately at camp Death Ray. Spouses talking is bad for mind control. Oh I’m sorry did I say mind control? Because I meant mind control.

Olesen described himself as a day trader :: he had been to several other Ray events which he had paid for in a package “deal” :: and he was an unimpressed member of the World Wealth Society. Mr. Olesen didn’t give the impression of man seeking enlightenment via woo woo :: he answered a question about his journaling with little more than a grunt and an eye roll.

Say NO to scrapbooking :: show me the money!

World Wealth Society was super good at the taking of the monies {$50Kish} :: but it wasn’t so good at the showing of the monies.

Mr. Olesen sat on the inner ring of the death lodge :: at the back. He was near his wife :: and directly in front of Lou Caci. After the fourth or fifth round he crawled and/or was dragged out. He spent one round cooling down :: and then went back in to the sweat hole where his wife remained. Things were not looking :: or sounding :: too good inside the lodge. Michael Olesen was concerned about everyone’s safety :: “but I wasn’t running the show.”

Before the last round Ray instructed everyone to lay down because the heat was going to be intense. Linda :: who was sitting near Olesen and Caci :: didn’t lie down. Olesen tried to help her but she seemed completely unresponsive. He was unable to move her :: and called out for some help. None came. James Ray told him to just leave her :: she’d be fine.

She wasn’t fine :: and after the lodge Michael Olesen noticed James Arthur Ray doing nothing while he and the participants bravely scurried to help each other.

At various times in his testimony Mr. Olesen described Mr. Ray as angry :: serious :: and intense. It’s not just fragile little ladies who got the idea you didn’t interrupt fake god during a fake ceremony.

Scammers :: especially large group scammers :: need to recruit professionals into their little clubs so that they can …

a) take their money

b) use them as legitimacy anchors for recruiting new members.

If a bunch of doctors and lawyers are doing it … then it must be all good. It’s not some crazy cult or something … look at all these fancy degrees. That’s not rational decision making because degrees offer no protection from evil schemes :: but not rational meets people where they’re at … and works like a charm.

Huckstering professionals is an excellent strategy :: right up until the moment you go on trial for manslaughter and they start testifying against you. Now the same legitimacy building mechanism you relied upon to bolster your scams is harnessed by the State to make their case {and the pool of victims and witnesses} feel more credible. That’s almost enough hilarious irony to uncross a set of heinously crossed eyes … but not quite.

Beverley Bunn :: an orthodontist from Dallas :: was just getting started on her James Arthur Ray experience. She’d only been to one other event :: and she wasn’t sure she was going to attend Spiritual Warrior. Dr. Bunn testified that a couple of calls from Michelle Goulet had finally closed her on the deal {a “service” Michelle often performed}. She showed up too late for the group waiver signing :: and so signed her’s alone in the Angel Valley offices. She didn’t read them :: but that didn’t keep the defense from going on and on about them during cross.

Dr. Bunn was Kirby Brown’s roommate during Spiritual Warrior :: she described her as upbeat and excited about participating in events. Dr. Bunn discussed her reluctance to participate in the head shaving with Kirby.

“There were always comments” :: from James Arthur Ray about those who hadn’t shaved their heads :: said Dr. Bunn. Early in the retreat people were assigned a Dream Team member to work with them on their various problems and intentions. Beverley Bunn was instructed by Mr. Ray that she was to work exclusively with him. When she tried to talk with him about her struggles regarding the head shaving he said …

“I don’t give a fuck what you do. Shave your head … don’t shave your head … doesn’t really matter.”

Nice. And where do I sign up to give you more monies?

She did shave her head :: on the last day :: “full on”. Just a few days later Dr. Bunn defied her “vanity” again by being the first :: and one of the only :: victims willing to bald-headedly describe the scary situation inside the death lodge to the national press :: “fuller on”.

Dr. Bunn’s memories of the death lodge were detailed and precise. She had far better recall of events than previous witnesses :: remembering details like the number of rocks Mr. Ray called for in between rounds :: and the precise locations of many other participants within the lodge.

12 rocks & 5 gallons of water in each of the first two rounds. It was too hot :: at the end of the third round she decided that the next round would be her last. Midway through that round she started to worry that she wasn’t going to have enough strength left to crawl out. But she was wrong :: when the flap opened she still had enough go juice to make it to the door.

But Death Ray was there :: and he tried to stop her :: “especially you are better than this … it’s just mind over matter.” Much to her future self’s dismay :: she stayed. Many other minds succumbed to matter as Dr. Bunn remembers :: like Dr. Wagoner :: multiple people being dragged out limp unconscious.

After the sixth round things started to get crazy. There’s a clear warning that some one is not breathing :: lots of people start screaming out to each other. Fake god aggressively demands silence :: “I’m in charge” :: “this round is beginning … we’ll deal with that in the next round” :: flap closes {on Kriby’s life}.

According to Dr. Bunn things were quieter in the lodge after that. Those who were still alive mostly focused on remaining so.

After the lodge James Arthur Ray was the first out :: but Dr. Bunn didn’t leave for another 7-10 minutes as she struggled to help move some other bodies out of the sweltering heat. Outside the lodge Dr. Bunn went from victim to victim making assessments and doing what she could to help. Sidney Spencer was completely non-responsive and her eyes were rolled back into her head. It looked like all the blood vessels in Stephen Ray’s eyes had burst. Some lady was lying unconscious on her side :: completely cutting off circulation to her now blue arm.

Dr. Bunn could tell CPR was being done on the backside of the sweat lodge. Through the chaos :: she could see Kriby’s bikini rising and falling with the forced respirations. Recall of this horror was more than Dr. Bunn could bear :: and she lost her day long struggle to hold back her still raw emotions.

It was pretty clear from Dr. Bunn’s testimony that she knew there was an ongoing medical disaster before the lodge was over. She kept waiting for Ray to do something about it :: and he never did. She also stated the reasons for her own inaction quite clearly :: she was a participant not a leader :: and it had been made very clear that no one was to question James Arthur Ray.

Beverley Bunn’s testimony was devastating :: I’ll bet James Arthur Ray “gives a fuck” now.

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[ Michael Oleson :: live blog archive :: {March 10th} ]

[ Dr. Bunn’s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 13th} {March 15th} ]

{update 9 :: 15 March 2011}

James Arthur Ray asks that you not miss Yoga … or else!

... that's a pattern ...

Adults were “free to choose” :: unless they did.

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{update 10 :: 17 March 2011}

James Shore had a wife and three kids.

Three tiny :: little :: still needing their daddy … baby kids.

Unlike James Ray :: James Shore was trying to help persons in distress … he died like that.

Unlike James Ray :: James Shore was a spiritual warrior.

James Shore ... enlightenment without distraction

Don’t be numb to the horror.

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{update 12 :: 25 March 2011}


But I haven’t said anything y–



Please excuse me while I narrate :: speculate :: and lead my way through several witnesses without any interruption from grumpy old men or L.A. snobs.

Mr. Kelly’s cross examination of Beverley Bunn was full of hostile. This exchange best sums up how that hostility went for the defense …

Mr. Kelly :: “Nobody was dragged into the sweat lodge … correct?”

Dr. Bunn :: “Just out …”

And there you have it. The answer was sticken from the record … but no it wasn’t.

Mr. Kelly spent an entire afternoon badgering Dr. Bunn :: a victim whether or not James Ray is a criminal :: and revealed not a single fact useful to his client. His unwarranted assertion that Dr. Bunn had exaggerated about Ray’s hostility and public shaming of a participant who missed Yoga led to the revealing audio posted above being played for the jury.

Mr. Kelly did manage to confuse Dr. Bunn into saying that she may have misquoted Ray :: but that was quickly cleared up on re-direct by Mr. Hughes. Her misquote only existed in Tom Kelly’s dull imagination.

Stephen Ray thought that Spiritual Warrior was all about getting direct access to James Ray. He had attended most of Ray’s other events :: and had paid $14,000 for a package of seminars that included Spiritual Warrior 2008. He was unable to attend that event :: and paid a completely unreasonable $500 “change fee” to transfer his attendance to the 2009 event.

One of the things that Stephen Ray admired about James Arthur Ray was his “impeccable attention to detail”. Stephen testified that James Ray mentioned the sweat lodge was built to his personal specifications. Stephen Ray trusted that James Arthur Ray would keep him safe :: and that he wasn’t actually risking death by going into the sweat lodge.

The events on the Journey of Power had increased in intensity {a fact accidentally introduced by Truc Do during cross}. And the various events at Spiritual Warrior 2009 were increasing in intensity. The sweat lodge was the last activity :: and even though he was in a near panic thinking about the hot enclosed space … Stephen Ray entered the doomed structure.

S.Ray had dreams he was being water boarded. He woke up in the hospital :: life changed for the not better. Harmonic Renal Failure and Harmonic Acute Brain Hypoxia.

Stephen Ray’s health problems continue today :: he doesn’t have health insurance … or a $5 million home in Beverly Hills.

Lou Caci and James Arthur Ray had been friends for a long time. They met at a Tony Robbins seminar in 1995 :: and Mr. Caci has been attending Ray events on and off ever since. Lou was convinced that playing “full on” would help him achieve things in his real life :: and he didn’t want to be seen as a failure in the eyes of James Ray.

The lodge started off badly for Mr. Caci :: and quickly got worse. By the end of the 4th round Lou was delirious :: when the flap opened he headed straight for it :: falling into the pit of hot rocks. After that his testimony was pretty much factually worthless :: all a blur of pain splotchy memory.

Lou kinda remembers getting medical aid from Melinda Martin :: and he vaguely remembers Jennifer Haley telling him not to go back inside the lodge. But he did go back into the lodge :: walking right past his “friend” James Ray. Lou’s bandaged :: burned :: and in no condition to be playing fake shaman games. James Ray was in Lou’s wedding party. Less than an hour before Lou was screaming out :: all but unconscious in the rock pit :: yet Ray invites him back in like a piece of meat.

Once back inside the lodge :: and even in his impaired state :: Lou Caci has a very clear memory of seeing Liz Neuman lying on Laura Tucker … breathing slow and heavy. Liz had been a follower of Ray for almost as long Caci :: so they’d been at events together numerous times over the years. Lou lost his father and brother to illness :: and he compared Liz’s labored breathing to their final breaths.

People were dying in that sweat lodge. Lou Caci :: with his cooked brain :: lacerated hand :: and burned arm … could tell that people were dying. James Arthur Ray sat by the door {fully hydrated} breathing freely and having cool water splashed upon himself. James Ray knew people were dying … and he closed the flap.

>>bloop bleep

[ Stephen Ray’s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 15th} {March 16th} ]

[ Lou Caci’s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 16th} {March 17th} ]

{update 13 :: 28 March 2011}

The State calls Dr. Jeanne Armstrong …

Dr. Armstrong is a non-practicing family doctor from Indiana. She was introduced to Death Ray by Oprah :: who pretends to care about her viewers … but clearly doesn’t. Prior to the sweat lodge Dr. Armstrong had attended approximately five other Ray events. When Ray came to Indianapolis in July of 2009 :: Dr. Armstrong helped promote him. Even after the sweat lodge Dr. Armstrong seemed to maintain some of her faith in Ray.

Jeanne Armstrong {and her non-cult shaved head} sat near the door of the lodge :: and while not generally enjoying the experience :: she suffered little and wasn’t concerned for her own health during or after the event. When the flap was open between rounds :: there was some air flow :: so things were less dreadful by the door. In spite of this :: Dr. Armstrong seems to have missed witnessing some of the most incriminating events within the lodge. The jury asked her if it was possible she slept through the middle rounds.

Dr. Armstrong was set to be a star witness for defense. She was prepared to testify that she asked James Arthur Ray if there was an Automatic External Defibrillator around :: and that he walked off and failed to find one {hero!}. Doesn’t sound like much {because it isn’t} :: but the defense doesn’t have much. “Hey look, he kinda maybe did something … sort of.” But the prosecution called her before the defense got a chance. Truc Do tried to point out to the jury that her witness had got stoled by asking Dr. Armstrong stupid questions about how she was there “by subpoena”. Doubt the jury caught that :: or cared.

Dr. Armstrong gave the impression of someone who still has soft spot for James Arthur Ray. She is not prepared to see herself as manipulated :: and so is likely not prepared to view Ray as an evil :: conscious :: and intentional manipulator. But she also didn’t seem like a liar :: out to protect Mr. Ray at the expense of the truth.

Dr. Armstrong told her version of the truth … it’s not fair to ask for more than that. Death Ray fogged minds :: that was his deal. People shouldn’t be judged harshly for the lingering fog. We don’t know what hurts :: and haunts :: other souls. All external information sets are incomplete.

In spite of Dr. Armstrong’s incomplete hatred of Ray :: her testimony actually turned out pretty badly for him. She pointed out to Truc Do that the Dream Team weren’t really safety agents … but more like other participants. The defense likes to describe victims as “foaming at the mouth” because that sort of supports their super terrific poisoning theory. When Ms. Do asked Dr. Armstrong about the “foaming” she was corrected. Dr. Armstrong thought it looked more like “frothy sputum” … which is consistent with heat stroke.

Several days later Ms. Polk told Judge Darrow during legal arguments that Dr. Armstrong was called to help start laying the medical foundation for the heat causation portion of the prosecution’s case {something Dr. Armstrong did quite nicely}. Mr. Kelly strenuously objected that he didn’t know that’s what had happened :: which was stupid :: and funny :: and not a real objection.

[ Dr. Armstrong’s testimony :: live blog archive :: {March 17th} {March 18th} ]

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{update 14 :: 29 March 2011}

Laurie Gennari no like them cameras :: so at her request :: they looked away during her testimony :: forcing the public to watch James Arthur Ray squirm uncomfortably in his chair for hours on end. The chair was likely even more uncomfortable. Because everything is energy :: this chair … this old scammers decrepit body … this LA Lawyer … this water bottle … this thumb ring … this hair cut … ENERGY!

Laurie Gennari also no like James Arthur Ray. Before the jury had had a chance to ask themselves :: “did that last lady actually still like this creepy weirdo?” :: Laurie was on the stand telling them that she thought Ray’s teachings were mostly crap where you just kept waiting for the good stuff that never came … but the “Jekyll & Hyde moment” was definitely coming.


Sustained. The jury will forget that the witness said :: and very much meant :: and was totally right about :: this whole Jekyll & Hyde situation.

Almost everything Laurie said was wicked bad for Death Ray :: cause Laurie is super smart :: and she knows she got scammed … “full on”. That’s a scary bad combo for James Ray.

Laurie entered the lodge with Laura Tucker :: and they sat together until Ray inserted Liz Neuman between them to align with the moon gods of safety … or whatever.

“I had suspended normal me in order to have this experience. From where I am now it just sounds stupid.”

By the middle rounds things were getting crazy. Laurie was lying flat … digging her hand under the lodge for relief. Liz didn’t look good. Laurie heard Laura ask James Ray about Liz :: and she demonstrated the slow and slurred way that Liz said “no, no, no” she didn’t want to leave the lodge.

Liz did need to leave the lodge. Laurie Gennari knows that now :: and pretty much knew it then. But Laurie wasn’t herself that day because James Ray had stole her away :: and locked her behind a set of rules that she never got a chance to contemplate. The waiver didn’t disclose that mind manipulation had been Death Ray’s sole purpose for Spiritual Warrior. And Laurie was panicking :: she wanted to save Laurie.

Ms. Gennari decides she needs to leave :: Ms. Tucker has a very desperate and scary situation on her hands … and yet she wants Laurie to do whatever Laurie needs to do. Laura Tucker … such a nice lady.

Laurie gets almost to the door :: and then James Arthur Ray stops her. “Too late … door’s closing.”

Door closes.

She collapses to ground … whimpering.

Laurie Gennari :: like Liz :: needed to leave. After she didn’t … she blacked out. She remembers being “thrown out” of the lodge after almost everyone else had cleared out. Laurie is disoriented and takes a bucket of water up the nose. There’s mud caked all over her eyes and she’s a bit freaked.

Along comes Laura Tucker. She wipes the mud off of Laurie’s eyes and they wrap up in a blanket together for a moment because by now it’s getting cold. Stephen Ray is laying right of front of the ladies :: looking scary horrible and not responding. Laura {again … being such nice lady} tells Laurie to go to Stephen Ray. Laurie does. Stephen’s hands feel dead. Laurie stays with Stephen until the paramedics haul him off to the helicopter.

Laurie wishes that she would have saved Liz. Laurie thinks saving Liz was much more a Laurie move than not saving Liz. But whatever :: I wish I would have gone to the Harmonic Wealth Weekend held in Chicago July of 2009 and hit James Ray over the head with a chair … but I didn’t. I wish I had started writing about James Ray a year earlier … but I hadn’t. These horrors not my fault either. Only one person could have prevented these deaths … and he didn’t.

On cross Mr. Li managed to get Laurie to say :: “I was there to follow the program. I’d paid enormous piles to be there.” So that was helpful. He tried to “impeach” Ms. Gennari and show her as a liar. I’m not sure how that makes sense … because half-a-dozen witnesses have already testified to the same basic fact pattern with very little variance. She’s obviously not a liar. And the most damaging part of her testimony was her hindsight self-awareness :: a non-factual issue unpossible to impeach :: which Mr. Li continually drew attention to by asking Laurie to compare her testimony to her original police interviews … only the tone had changed.

Li’s questions allowed Ms. Polk to ask Laurie Gennari directly about how and why her opinions about Mr. Ray have changed. Laurie explained the mind manipulation about as well as it can be explained … and it was horrible for James Ray. Thanks to yet another useless cross for opening it up.

[ Laurie Gennari’s testimony live blog archive :: {March 18th} {March 22nd} ]

>> bleep bloop

The Salty Droid is blogging the trial in real time on the twitters. Except for …

  • the spam
  • the censorship
  • the rampant vapidity of most users
  • the lack of presentation options
  • the constant technical fails
  • the non-searchable “archives”
  • the incessant spewing of con men and murderers

… twitter is great fun.

If you liked AOL :: you’ll love u some twitter.

Anywayz :: new plan …

Live blogging transferred from Twitter to the blog at the end of each day. Those posts :: like this one :: will continue to grow as supporting materials and elaboration are necessary.

The bulk of the writing on this page will now be reserved for painting the broad-strokes of this horror. Discussion of the individual days :: witnesses :: and trial shenanigans :: will be moved to the live blogging pages. Please try to contribute in the comments along a similar fashion. Big stuff here :: specific stuff there. That should improve things :: right now this page is confusing to follow even for all knowing fake robots.

Please continue with {or increase} your excellent contributions {but spread them around}.

This site has become an important record of something important … and I’m proud to be 20% of why it’s so great.

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