30 Sep 2011
Conrad Murray Trial, Day 4: Paramedic Says Doctor's Story 'Did Not Add Up' (Update)
Richard Senneff, a paramedic who answered the 911 call at Michael Jackson's home on the day of the singer's death, told the court during Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial Friday that the situation "did not seem normal" when he arrived at the scene.
Senneff (pictured), of the Los Angeles Fire Department, detailed multiple red flags that he noticed on the June 25, 2009 call, including Murray's responses to his questions.
Senneff testified that, when he asked Murray what Jackson's underlying heath issue was, Murray failed to respond the first two times he asked, and eventually responded that there was no underlying issue.
"Simply, that did not add up to me -- doctors in the house, IV pole, IV hooked up to the patient -- it simply did not seem normal" that there would be no underlying condition, Senneff testified.
As expected, Senneff also testified that, when he asked Murray what medications Jackson had been taking, he he didn't mention Propofol, which was found to contribute to the singer's death.
"He said, 'No he's not taking anything,' then he followed that up by saying, 'I just gave him a little bit of Lorazepam to help him sleep," Senneff told the court.
Eventually, Murray told Senneff that he'd been treating Jackson for dehydration and exhaustion.
Senneff also noted that, when he asked when Jackson went down, Murray told him that it had occurred just as he had placed the 911 call -- which gave Senneff the impression that "we had a good chance of saving" Jackson. However, when paramedics hooked up an EKG, he was flatlining, and the drugs paramedics gave Jackson in order to re-start his heart had no effect.
According to Senneff, Murray also told responders that he had felt a pulse in Jackson's right femoral region, though when Senneff checked the heart monitor, it only indicated signs that Jackson had been given CPR.
Senneff also told the court that, the second time that paramedics attempted to administer starter drugs to Jackson, they weren't able to find a vein -- which suggested that blood circulation might have stopped earlier than expected.
Said Senneff of Jackson's condition, "When I first moved the patient, his skin was very cool to the touch."
Senneff further testified that, when he contacted the hospital at UCLA, they were prepared to call time of death at 12:57 p.m., due to the two unsuccessful efforts to resuscitate him with starter drugs. However, Jackson was still being ventilated as they transported him downstairs to the ambulance.
Asked if he noticed any sign of life in Jackson the entire time he was with him, Senneff said, "No, I did not."
The fourth day of the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial is expected to include testimony from a paramedic who tried to revive Michael Jackson before the singer's death.
CNN reports that paramedic Richard Senneff testified during a preliminary hearing in January that Murray failed to disclose that he had been treating Jackson with daily doses of the powerful surgery drug propofol for two months.
Read more: Conrad Murray Trial, Day 3: 'Frenzied' Murray Didn't Ask for 911 Call, Says MJ Chef (Update 2)
Senneff said Murray only admitted to giving Jackson lorazepam to help him sleep, and that he was treating the pop star for dehydration. At the time, Jackson was going through physically demanding rehearsals for a series of concert performances that he hoped would lead to a big career comeback.
Sennett said Jackson had "flatlined" by the time he showed up at Jackson's home. Sennett said he had asked Murray how long Jackson had been unresponsive, and Murray indicated "it just happened." Sennett said that timeline "didn't add up," and that could prove to be a key bit of testimony during today's courtroom session.
Murray contends only 10 minutes elapsed between the time he found Jackson unresponsive and the time 911 was called, but prosecutors insist Murray waited at least 25 minutes before instructing another Jackson employee, Alberto Alvarez, to call 911.
Read more: Conrad Murray Trial, Day 2: Assistant Says Doctor Tried to Get Back Into MJ's House (Live Feed)
During Wednesday's testimony, Jackson's chef, Kai Chase, testified that a "frantic" Murray had rushed into the kitchen after discovering Jackson in distress, but that he didn't ask her to call 911.
Murray's defense team is likely to use the fact that Chase didn't take the initiative to call 911 to cast the blame for Jackson's death away from Murray.
CNN reports that the defense team will also try to direct some of the responsibility for Jackson's overdose on another doctor, Dr. Arnold Klein, the Beverly Hills dermatologist who reportedly gave Jackson frequent doses of Demerol in the weeks leading up to his June 2009 death.
The defense claims Murray didn't know Jackson was taking Demerol at the same time Murray was treating him with propofol.