Sweat lodge victim's roommate testifies

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on March 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 11 at 5:31 PM

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. -- One of the most outspoken former followers of James Arthur Ray is on the stand in the self-help guru's manslaughter trial.

Sweat lodge survivor Dr. Beverly Bunn, an orthodontist from Texas, is one of 50 people who paid nearly $10,000 to attend Ray's "Spiritual Warrior" retreat at Sedona's Angel Valley Resort in October 2009.

Bunn described the retreat activities, including wilderness walks, journaling and the so-called "Samurai Game" in which Ray played "God." Bunn said Ray convinced her to shave her head just before she went into the sweat lodge.

As her testimony continues Friday, Bunn is expected to describe Ray's reaction to people trying to leave the sweat lodge and how he responded after people fell ill.

During the retreat, Bunn roomed with Kirby Brown, one of three people who died after the sweat lodge ceremony. Eighteen others were rushed to the hospital.

Ray has pleaded not guilty to the deaths that his attorneys said were a tragic accident. Prosecutors in the Camp Verde courtroom said Ray conditioned the participants to trust his judgment over their own and recklessly caused the deaths.

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