Self-help author convicted of negligent homicide

A jury has convicted a self-help author who led a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona that left three people dead.

Jurors in Camp Verde, Ariz., reached their verdict Wednesday after a four-month trial.

James Arthur Ray was found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide.

More than 50 people participated in the October 2009 sweat lodge that was meant to be the highlight of Ray's five-day “Spiritual Warrior” seminar near Sedona.

Three people died following the sauna-like ceremony meant to provide spiritual cleansing. Eighteen were hospitalized, while others were treated at the scene. Prosecutors and defense attorneys disagreed over whether the deaths and illnesses were caused by heat or toxins.

Ray's attorneys have maintained the deaths were a tragic accident. Prosecutors argued Ray recklessly caused the fatalities.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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