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Michael Jackson / Conrad Murray in the news > Jackson fans, family see justice in doctor's guilty verdict

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8 Nov 2011


Jackson fans, family see justice in doctor's guilty verdict


LOS ANGELES – The conviction Monday of Conrad Murray in the death of Michael Jackson ended a lengthy trial that exposed not only the extreme measures Jackson used to get to sleep but also the sad final days of the star as he worked desperately to make a comeback.

Murray, 58, a cardiologist, showed no emotion as the court clerk read a verdict of guilty on one count of involuntary manslaughter in the medication-overdose death, concluding the rare prosecution of a physician after a patient died.

Murray's mother also had no visible reaction. A shriek came from La Toya Jackson, the singer's sister.


By Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images

Michael Jackson supporters react outside the courthouse as Conrad Murray's guilty verdict is announced.

Murray was handcuffed behind his back and led into custody through a side door. As he left, he nodded and murmured a few words to his mother and five friends.

Chernoff said later that the verdict would be appealed. Sentencing possibilities range from probation to four years behind bars. Because of a recent change in state law, Murray probably will serve his time, if any, in a county jail.

The conviction means Murray will automatically have his California medical license suspended, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference after the brief court session. Cooley said he hoped the other states where Murray is licensed to practice medicine — Nevada, Texas and Hawaii — will do the same.

Filing out of court, Jackson family members hugged prosecutor David Walgren and co-prosecutor Deborah Brazil. Matriarch Katherine Jackson kissed Brazil on the cheek.

"Justice!" the entertainer's sister Rebbie and brother Jermaine shouted as they left the courthouse. Jermaine Jackson pumped his left fist and gave the V-for-victory sign.

On the street, fans cheered and car horns were honked.

The jury of seven men and five women reached its decision at midmorning on the second day of deliberations, after spending eight hours and 34 minutes considering the evidence. Pastor submitted the case to the jury late Thursday after 22 days of testimony from 49 witnesses.

The 340 exhibits of evidence included a poignant recording Murray had made on his cellphone. A heavily sedated Jackson is heard voicing his hopes that a series of concerts in London would establish him as the "greatest entertainer in the world" and would enable him to finance a children's hospital.

The verdict held Murray responsible for Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol, aggravated by effects of the sedative lorazepam.

The jury accepted Walgren's arguments that Murray's conduct went beyond malpractice, causing death through criminal negligence and "egregious, unethical and unconscionable" violations of medical standards. Walgren said Murray acted criminally in using propofol to treat Jackson's insomnia. The setting in Jackson's upstairs bedroom was inappropriate and lacked the required monitoring and resuscitation equipment, Walgren said.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Murray delayed for 20 minutes in asking a security guard to call 911, performed CPR improperly, tried to hide evidence and failed to tell rescue personnel he had administered propofol to Jackson.

Murray, who did not take the stand, told police two days after Jackson died that he had administered propofol intravenously at Jackson's request nightly for two months. At the time, Jackson was preparing for a comeback — 50 concerts under the title "This Is It" — after 10 years off the stage.

Anesthesiologist Steven Shafer, an expert on propofol, testified for the prosecution that Jackson probably died from a three-hour intravenous drip of propofol, running continuously through the moment of death. Paul White, the defense's anesthesiology expert, said Jackson self-injected the fatal propofol and swallowed a deadly quantity of lorazepam pills while Murray was away from the bedside. Walgren said throughout the trial that Murray still would be culpable if that happened because he provided the medications in a dangerous setting and "abandoned" Jackson, leaving him with access to potent drugs.

Murray told police he left Jackson for two minutes to use the bathroom, returning to find his patient not breathing. Cellphone records showed Murray was phoning and e-mailing for 45 minutes around the time Jackson died. Among people listed in the cellphone records were three girlfriends.

Only a few doctors in the USA, including suicide assister Jack Kevorkian, have been charged with homicide. Cooley, asked whether he had filed the case just because the alleged victim was Michael Jackson, said no. "This one," he said of the Jackson case, "takes on a viral, international dimension because of the celebrity status of the victim, but that just comes with the territory."

Two years and four months after Jackson's death, the jury decided that the death was a crime.

Contributing: The Associated Press 

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