Thu, Feb. 20

Ray case will move to Prescott next week

PRESCOTT - The remaining matters in the case of James Arthur Ray, a motivational speaker and author convicted of negligent homicide in June, will take place in Prescott rather than Camp Verde.

An administrative order dated Wednesday outlined the changes in judicial assignments for three superior court judges including Judge Warren Darrow, who will be moving to the downtown Prescott courthouse next week. Judges Jennifer Campbell and Michael Bluff will handle future criminal cases that originate in the Verde Valley, while Darrow's future assignments will mainly comprise civil, probate and domestic relations cases.

Darrow will move his office to Prescott on Friday. At the same time, Judge Patricia Trebesch will move her operation to Camp Verde, where she will hear civil, probate and domestic relations cases.

Darrow will, however, keep Ray's case, which he has presided over since February 2010, when a grand jury indicted Ray on manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths of three people after a sweat lodge ceremony he led in October 2009 near Sedona.

Darrow has not yet ruled on a defense motion for a new trial for Ray, 53, who remains free on bond. That motion was filed in July and alleged misconduct during the four-month prosecution led by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.

The next order of business in the case is a hearing Wednesday to determine the allowable scope of a weeklong mitigation hearing scheduled to begin on Sept. 19. Sentencing, should Darrow deny a new trial, is to take place Sept. 26.

Ray could receive as long as nine years in prison for causing the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman. Probation is also a sentencing option.

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