Feb 4, 2010 11:05 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Self-help speaker charged in Arizona sweat lodge deaths

Motivational speaker James Arthur Ray is set to make his first court appearance on three counts of manslaughter for deaths that happened at an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony he led last year.

Ray was indicted and arrested on Wednesday for the deaths at an Oct. 8 ceremony intended to be the highlight of his five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event. The ceremony was held at a retreat center he rented near Sedona.

Ray is being held in the Yavapai County, Ariz., jail on $5 million bond and faces a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 12½ years on each count. He's scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Ray's attorneys call the charges unjust and say they're confident he will be exonerated.

Two people passed out inside the sweat lodge and died that night. A third died a week later.


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