Jun 30, 2011

The Jury: James Ray Caused Emotional Harm

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The jury deliberated for the better part of two days over charges of aggravating circumstances. This afternoon found them deadlocked on a number of issues and unwilling to deliberate further. The one thing they all agreed upon: James Ray caused emotional harm to the families of all three decedents. That is to say, guilty on three counts of the aggravating factor of emotional harm.

They also agreed that Ray held a unique position of trust in the case of Liz Neuman. So one count of unique position of trust. On the rest of the aggravators, the unique position of trust for Kirby Brown and James Shore, and pecuniary gain, they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Judge Darrow has set a sentencing date of July 25th, 2011. He declined a motion from prosecutor Sheila Polk that Ray be taken into custody immediately. 

A little reminder from Cosmic Connie: July 25th will be the second anniversary of Colleen Conaway's death in a San Diego mall; or as she was known on that day, Jane Doe. How darkly fitting. 

A very special thanks to April Santiago of Dateline and Rachel Stockman of NBC Channel 12 in Arizona, for tweeting the news live from the courtroom. And my heartfelt thanks also to the rest of my James Ray trial peeps for being an excellent grapevine of information, even during the near media blackout on this trial.


  1. While it is a disappointment for all three aggravating counts not be definitively determined guilty, I understand how the jury could be deadlocked on count 1 and 3.

    I can also understand how Judge Darrow could let JR walk out without being taken into custody.

    However, for the life of me, I cannot understand how he could let JR walk without a clear stipulation of: CEASE AND DESIST any promotional shit of any of JR stuff. (i.e. go find another job asshole).

    I'm sure there are nicer ways of saying the above, but the point being, he is harmful only when he is peddling his shit. Even if he only gets probation as his final sentence, I would hope that his motivational speaking profession receives the death penalty.

  2. @Kathy, Sadly, I don't think such a stipulation is possible. I know judges have some latitude but I think that would be a stretch. I, frankly, have been surprised by none of what's occurred here. I think the jury did the best they could with the information they had. I think he'll do jail time but, as it's a first offense, it won't be enough to please people close to this case and it will be too much to please Ray and his followers -- in other words I doubt he'll get off with probation.

    I don't know if you saw this but he's dying to get back to work destroying people's lives. He's called on his public speaking peeps to write letters of support. Connie Joy has the whole text up in a comment on this thread.

  3. @La Vaughn, yes I did see that, and all I could think of was "this is the epitome of arrogance and narcissism".

    It is very clear that this man will learn nothing from this experience that will help make the world a better place and he a better human being.

    Does he really think that his work is that valuable? I guess to him, the victims were just collateral damage to the "good" work he does.

    Don't you think that at sentencing, the judge can place some restrictions on his future work? At least no more sweat lodges and no more God-complex games. I now believe that someone with that type of arrogance and narcissism would actually run these activities again. Scary.

    My interest in JR has significantly waned. You are right. Con-man. Add to that, narcissism and remorselessness. End of story. Nothing anyone can do about that. Maybe not even James Ray.

    What interests me now are "followers" of this man. What makes people act like this? Would it take an entire lodge (60) of dead people to make them ask questions about this guy? I guess 3 were only collateral damage to the "good" work. I don't get it.

    I mean, I'm not saying throw out the baby with the bath water. I think people can honour and respect teachings that have worked for them (by JR or any other con-man), but can also see remorselessness, narcissism and lack of accountability for what they are as well. I suppose it's about denial, and this extreme Law of Attraction mentality is just that.

  4. I'm not a lawyer so I don't really know what kind of enjoinders a judge can place on him, in terms of work, but I think it would only be when he's on probation. In other words, if he's released early for good behavior, he still belongs to the penal system for the duration of his sentence and they can severely curtail his comings and goings. After that, he can do whatever he wants... except vote in a number of states.

    Like it or not, he'll be able to do as he pleases in terms of running scams... or, um, teaching, ahem. I take some comfort in the fact that he'll never be able to draw the way he has. Where would he run his events? What hotel would have him, after what it cost Angel Valley? And his ability to do all things he needs to do to be successful will be severely curtailed. It will harder for him to publish through a reputable house. The media is not going to want to promote him. His days of doing an Oprah-like venue are pretty much over. He's damaged goods at this point. The only thing he could do to really salvage himself is come clean and show remorse. Rumor has it he cries on cue very well.

    The painful truth is that this guy will always find followers. If Sharpe James and Marion Barry can keep getting elected to public office, James Ray will still find followers. That's inevitable. But he'll be reduced to the same kinds of internet pitching that he's been doing throughout this trial. He'll always be coasting on the small amount of fame he achieved before he set fire to his own career in that sweat lodge. When he gets out of prison, he'll be far less pretty, in his declining years, and a felon.

  5. Hi LaVaughn,
    Our friend @Thrusting Beast just posted an interesting article on twitter, from the person who was responsible for CNN's audio during the trial. Who would've guessed it's not her regular job.

    Some interesting observations about Death Ray, but she didn't explain why she can't read a clock or an instruction booklet. There is a space for comments, and I did not leave one. Ha. 20 odd years of pseudo-Buddhist meditation and self awareness training shows some results!


  6. @Yakaru, LOL. I know. I thought the same thing. I read it earlier today... most of it anyway. We were headed out the door. I'm not exactly sure what their tech set up was, though. I know when people have spoken to the techs on scene they've said the problem was CNN proper, not on their end. But it was the first thing that popped into my head. What a clusterfuck.

    Interesting article, though. I found her observations of Ray telling. I've heard this from other people who've seen him in person during the trial and found themselves feeling lots of feelings. He's very good at manufactured charisma and emotional manipulation. I disagree with her observations of Ray's mother, though. I saw something completely different. After that interview, I felt more convinced of her sociopathy than his. She struck me as a woman who's been running cons her whole life; all that manufactured weepiness with nary a tear in sight. Creeeeeepy.

    I'm just going to set this up as an html link to make it easier for people to click to: here


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