Conrad Murray Found Guilty in Michael Jackson Death Trial
Conrad Murray has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson. A jury took less than nine hours to decide the verdict following a six-week trial in which prosecutors painted Murray as a reckless physician who plied Jackson with irresponsible amounts of the powerful anesthetic propofol.
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After a lenghty explanation of the factors of the case, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor announced that Murray would be remanded into custody of the Sheriff until sentencing, which was set for Nov. 29. "The public should be protected," Pastor told a stunned-looking Murray. He faces a sentence of up to four years in prison.
Murray was handcuffed and escorted out of the court.
He is expected to appeal, and several factors, including prison over-crowding and new laws in California, hint that if Murray receives jail time, he will spend his sentence in a county jail. There have also been rumors that he could receive house arrest because he has no prior crime record.
Members of Jackson's family, including his parents and several of his brothers, were in the court room. Earlier, sister LaToya Jackson said on Twitter that she was "shaking uncontrollably" in anticipation of the verdict.
As the verdict was read, a muffled yelp came from the direction of the rows where the Jackson family was seated.
SENTENCING: NOV. 29
-- It's in Judge Michael Pastor's hands. A convicted defendant is supposed to be sentenced in 20 days, but Murray can waive that time while his attorneys prepare a motion for new trial, appeal.
-- Because of a new California law, Murray probably would not go to state prison. He would most likely serve a in the county jail because of prison overcrowding. There has been speculation that he would be allowed to serve house arrest.
-- The judge can consider that Murray is a defendant with no prior criminal record, a circumstance that might mitigate in favor of probation.
-- No more medical license.
Outside the court building, a circus atmosphere developed, and supporters burst into a chorus of cheers after the verdict was read. For most of the day, live feeds from the scene have broadcast people repeatedly shouting "Guilty! Guilty!"
Murray did not testify during the trial, but he previously acknowledged to police that he gave Jackson propofol and other sedative on June 25, 2009, the day the singer died. His attorneys argued that Jackson was addicted to the drug and gave himself the fatal dose when Murray was not in the room.
The Houston-based doctor was hired to be Jackson's personal physician in the run-up to the legendary King of Pop's comeback concerts.
Throughout the trial, Jackson family members watched from the spectator gallery, fans gathered outside with signs and T-shirts demanding, "Justice for Michael," and an international press corps broadcast reports around the world. The trial was televised and streamed on the Internet.
Prosecutors portrayed Murray as an incompetent doctor who used the anesthetic propofol without adequate safeguards and whose neglect left Jackson abandoned as he lay dying.
Murray's lawyers sought to show the doctor was a medical angel of mercy with former patients vouching for his skills. Murray told police from the outset that he gave Jackson propofol and other sedatives as the star struggled for sleep to prepare for his shows. But the doctor said he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died.
Lawyers for Murray and a defense expert blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself the fatal dose of propofol while Murray wasn't watching. A prosecution expert said that theory was crazy.
Murray said he had formed a close friendship with Jackson, never meant to harm him and couldn't explain why he died.
The circumstances of Jackson's death at the age of 50 were as bizarre as any chapter in the superstar's sensational life story.
Jackson was found not breathing in his own bed in his rented mansion after being dosed intravenously with propofol, a drug normally administered in hospitals during surgery.
The coroner ruled the case a homicide and the blame would fall to the last person who had seen Jackson alive - Murray, who had been hired to care for the singer as the comeback concerts neared.
Craving sleep, Jackson had searched for a doctor who would give him the intravenous anesthetic that Jackson called his "milk" and believed to be his salvation. Other medical professionals turned him down, according to trial testimony.
Murray gave up his practices in Houston and Las Vegas and agreed to travel with Jackson and work as his personal physician indefinitely.
For six weeks, as Jackson undertook strenuous rehearsals, Murray infused him with propofol every night, the doctor told police. He later tried to wean Jackson from the drug because he feared he was becoming addicted.
Jackson planned to pay Murray $150,000 a month for an extended tour in Europe. In the end, the doctor was never paid a penny because Jackson died before signing the contract.
During the last 24 hours of his life, Jackson sang and danced at a spirited rehearsal, reveling in the adulation of fans who greeted him outside. Then came a night of horror, chasing sleep - the most elusive treasure the millionaire entertainer could not buy.
Testimony showed Murray gave Jackson intravenous doses that night of the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam. Jackson also took a Valium pill. But nothing seemed to bring sleep.
Finally, Murray told police, he gave the singer a small dose of propofol - 25 milligrams - that seemed to put him to sleep. The doctor said he felt it was safe to leave his patient's bedside for a few minutes, but Jackson was not breathing when he returned.
Witnesses said he was most likely dead at that point.
What happened next was a matter of dispute during the trial. Security and household staff described Murray as panicked, never calling 911 but trying to give Jackson CPR on his bed instead of the firm floor.
A guard said Murray was concerned with packing up and hiding medicine bottles and IV equipment before telling him to call 911. Prosecutors said Murray was distracted while Jackson was sedated, citing Murray's cell phone records to show he made numerous calls.
Authorities never accused Murray of intending to kill the star, and it took eight months for them to file the involuntary manslaughter charge against him. It was the lowest possible felony charge involving a homicide.
There was no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But prosecution expert witnesses said Murray was acting well below the standard of care required of a physician.
They said using propofol in a home setting without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from that standard. They called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
The defense team countered with its own expert who presented calculations suggesting that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose.
In closing arguments, the prosecutor said the mystery of what happened behind the closed doors of Jackson's bedroom on the fatal day probably would never be solved.