Witness: Arizona Sweat Lodge Victim Refused Help

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. (AP) — A woman has testified that one of three people who died in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony refused to accept help when she appeared to be suffering from the heat in the structure.

The testimony by Laura Tucker came Friday during questioning by prosecutors at the trial of James Arthur Ray, the leader of the 2009 ceremony who has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter.

Tucker says she told Ray the woman, Liz Neuman, was having problems but Ray replied that Neuman knew how to handle the conditions.

Defense attorneys previously said Neuman’s refusal of help shows no one knew she would die. Prosecutors have countered that Neuman’s behavior can be explained because exposure to extreme temperatures causes confusion.

A judge delayed addressing the admissibility of an audio recording that prosecutors say reveals the mental state of another victim.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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