James Ray Trial: Pre-sentencing Mitigation Hearing Sept 2011September 15, 2011
James Ray, “philosopher”, motivational torturer, “practical guru” and negligently homicidal manslaughterer, will be sentenced at the end of September (probably) for the three counts of negligent homicide he was convicted of. Judge Darrow denied the defense’s motion for a retrial, without further comment. The mitigation hearing will begin on September 19 and the defense will call 19 witnesses to explain why when James is really not such a bad fellow after all, despite the fatherless children and lives destroyed through his idiotic and sadistic negligence.
I will post updates below, but for now here is a list of the witnesses who will be hoping to gain something from appearing for their demented colleague.
David McCall, Kathy Fleig, Robert Procter, Dr Matt Bynum, Amy Grothe, Genpo Roshi, Jeff Asshead – sorry, Adshead, Dr Tony Allessandra, Alex Smyth, Wayne Parker Donneta Parker, Ward Smith, Jason Tabeu, John Watkin John Ferriter, Tony Parinello, Jon Ray, Joyce Ray.
I will post more about some of these people.
UPDATE: New Link– Salty Droid takes a closer look at the witness list.
The defense is — as always — trying to have evidence against Ray excluded. A number of Ray’s former students and others who had some form of dealing with him have submitted letters to the prosecution describing their encounters with Ray and why they think he needs to be locked up for as long as possible. LaVaughn covers this in a blog post from July.
As always, readers wanting to catch up on the background from the entire trial, as well as on the events as the unfold, can find detailed analysis at the “James Ray” category on LaVaughn’s blog. I will also note her recent articles:
James Ray Trial Jury Foreman Speaks covering the jury’s frustration at being kept in the dark about Colleen Conaway’s death at a Ray seminar barely two months earlier, and details of the serious and life threatening incidents at prior Death Ray sweat lodges. It turns out eight jury members were satisfied that the prosecution had proven the charges of manslaughter, but four wanted to cut Ray a bit of slack, owing to the fact that it is barely imaginable that anyone could be stupid enough to do what Ray did (and didn’t) do. None of them bought a word of the defense’s ridiculous “toxins” story.
Will James Arthur Ray Get Off on a Technicality? covering the defense’s motion for a retrial.
UPDATE 19 Sept: Hearing to start Wednesday 28 September. (Hat tip Stoic, commenting on the Rick Ross forum.)
UPDATE 7 October: After postponements, the hearing has now been set for: November (2011!) 8,9,10 – for the prosecution to present witnesses and written materials; and Nov 15,16,17 for the defense to try and pull the rest of their last minute tricks. Friday November 18 will be the sentencing.
Update 22 October: I didn’t see Dateline’s Deadly Retreat special but Salty Droid has some relevant comments about the show: among other weaknesses, it failed to mention Colleen Conaway’s death at an earlier Ray event. And of course it failed to cover the way the media, including NBC unquestioningly promoted Ray as an “expert” on how to lead your life. The article linked to above also contains some of the footage from the trial which Salty Droid put together during the trial, including prosecutor Sheila Polk’s damning and moving closing statement, and highlights from the long winded, largely irrelevant and often completely bizarre closing statement by defense attorney Luis Li.
There is of course no footage of Ray speaking at his trial, because he exercised his constitutional right remain silent. From looking at the evidence amassed against him and the cynical and open attempts by the defense to get him off on a technicality, there was in fact nothing to be said in his defense.
UPDATE – NOVEMBER: THE HEARING HAS STARTED — FURTHER UPDATES ON THIS POST