The trial of a British-born “New Age guru” accused of murdering a woman during a meditation session is due to start in Nevada tomorrow.
Michael Victor Lane is alleged to have killed Ginger Candela, from Las Vegas, in 2009, before stuffing her body in a bin. It is believed that Lane, who set himself up as a New Age guru and motivational speaker when he moved from Devon to the US, intends to plead not guilty.
A police report said that Lane acknowledged killing Candela, 44, during a mediation session that started with compressions of her neck to induce a deeper trance.
Lane reportedly told detectives that he hit Candela several times on the head with a frying pan, killed her and stuffed the mutilated body in a bin in her garage. He also faces an attempted murder charge for deliberately running over, using Candela’s car, a transsexual he had solicited for sex on the internet and then brought to the dead woman’s home.
At the time her body was found, a warrant already had been issued in connection with the alleged vehicle attack.
Candela’s body was discovered after her daughter reported her missing. Lane was arrested at a motel in California.
He was found to be in possession of Candela’s vehicle and some of her personal property when he was arrested, police said.
According to documents filed by prosecutors, Lane met Candela at a book signing in October 2009 in Anaheim, California, and moved into Candela’s home in Las Vegas shortly thereafter to be her full-time “life coach”. The Briton has been held without bail at Clark County Jail for three years after a Nevada judge combined murder and assault charges.
At a 2010 hearing, a state court judge entered “not guilty” pleas for Lane on indictments in separate murder and attempted murder cases.
Detectives, who checked Lane’s travels to other US cities, believe he used the name Chae Saville and befriended women interested in his “spiritual healing” techniques. Lane’s former girlfriend and business partner in Devon has claimed that she lost £220,000 to him before he left for California, where he immersed himself in the state’s New Age community. Sarah Demellweek said she knew Lane as “an international businessman and IT expert” who owned several internet cafes in Asia and had spent years living in the Philippines.
Ms Demellweek says he encouraged her to invest in a string of coffee shops in 2007, but that Lane himself invested nothing.
She later learnt that Lane had moved to California, changed his name to Michael Bodhi, and set himself up as an “angel card” reader.