Defense rests in James Arthur Ray's sweat lodge trial

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by Felicia Fonseca / Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on June 9, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 9 at 10:04 PM

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. (AP) - Defense attorneys in a self-help author's manslaughter trial rested their case Thursday after calling two witnesses.

Dr. Ian Paul was unwavering in his testimony that heat stroke did not cause the deaths of three people following a sweat lodge ceremony. He says the victims' signs and symptoms instead were consistent with chemicals typically found in pesticides.

James Arthur Ray is facing three counts of manslaughter stemming from the October 2009 ceremony he led near Sedona.

Prosecutors contend Ray recklessly caused the deaths by ratcheting up the heat inside the structure.

Ray's attorneys claim investigators ignored the possibility that toxins or poisons contributed to the deaths. They called Paul and an Arizona Department of Criminal Safety criminalist to support that argument.

Some of the state's witnesses could be recalled for rebuttal.

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

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