Weak defense in guru case, juror says

Weak defense in guru case, juror says

Weak defense in guru case, juror says

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by Felicia Fonseca , Associated Press Writer

azfamily.com

Posted on July 3, 2011 at 9:42 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A juror who helped convict a self-help author of negligent homicide says the jury gave little credence to the defense theory that toxins could have killed three people in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony.

But Phillip Lepacek says prosecutors didn't have a slam-dunk case either.

James Arthur Ray was found guilty on charges stemming from three deaths after the sauna-like ceremony near Sedona in October 2009.

Lepacek says four jurors were in favor of a conviction on manslaughter charges, but he and seven others did not think the state had proven that Ray was aware of and disregarded the risk that his conduct could lead to death.

The defense argued that chemicals found in pesticides were a factor.

Lepacek says it was obvious the victims were overcome by the heat.
 

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