Andrea Puckett vents to Gail Rosenblum about James Ray's sweat lodge fiasco

While self-help guru James Arthur Ray cools his heels behind bars ahead of another Arizona court date, the daughter of one of his three clients killed last year in a sweat lodge ceremony gone wrong is venting her frustrations to the Star Tribune's Gail Rosenblum.

Apple Valley resident Andrea Puckett's mother, Liz Neuman, died in a Flagstaff hospital nine days after being dragged unconscious from the "Spiritual Warrior" sweat lodge in October. Two of Ray's other clients died in the sweat lodge, and 18 people were injured. Now Ray has been charged with three counts of manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.

The soft-spoken and poised Puckett rejects some people's contention that her mother knew precisely what she was risking. "My mom would never have put herself in a life-threatening situation on my birthday," Puckett said over tea on Monday. "When people say she should have known better, I say, no. These people weren't sheep. They were all leaders, independent and strong-willed. He really had to do a lot to take advantage of them."

Meantime, our sister publication, Phoenix New Times, reports that prosecutors have asked a judge to issue a gag order in the case, possibly out of worries that Ray's high-powered lawyers will soften up the potential jury pool through a concerted p.r. campaign for their client in the media.

You can read Rosenblum's story here.

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