The private physician who cared for Michael Jackson when he died, Conrad Murray, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a jury in a Los Angeles court after being forced to stand trial for the iconic singers death. The doctor faces up to four years in prison.
Murray agreed to become Jackson’s personal physician in 2009 as the singer planned a huge comeback tour after years of ridicule after Jackson lost face despite successfully beating charges brought against him of molesting minors. The doctor gave the singer surgical anesthetic propofol to Jackson so he could sleep. It was administered every night for the last two months of his life according to testimony.
The coroner ruled on 25th June 2009 that Jackson’s death was caused by “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with two sedatives.
The trial was an ongoing saga that took over six-weeks that had a number of expert witnesses who lambasted Dr Murray as reckless. Prosecutors were particularly critical of the doctors decision to abandon Jackson whilst he was doped up on anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009, the day he died. The also questioned Murray on his personal ethics painting a picture that the doctor would do anything Jackson demanded in order to maintain his employment which paid a comfortable $150,000-a-month salary.
“He is an employee who is saying yes to what is asked instead of saying yes to what is best for Michael Jackson’s health as any competent, ethical doctor would do,” prosecutor David Walgren said.
Attorneys for the Houston-based Dr Murray argued that in was Jackson who was addicted to the drug and had self-administered the fatal dose when Murray had left his bedroom. “They want you to convict Dr Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” defence lawyer Edward Chernoff said in closing arguments last week. The doctor refused to testify during the trial but did acknowledge that he had administered propofol and other sedatives to Jackson on the morning he died.
Fans gathered outside of the courthouse ahead of the verdict with many sported signs and placards reading “We miss Michael”, ‘Send Him To Jail’, with many chanting “Guilty!” leading up to the verdict. There were cheers of joy heard when the verdict was handed down.
The jury consisted of seven men and five women from a broad and diverse cross-section of those that live in Los Angeles including a professor, postman, bus driver, actor and movie animation supervisor. It took the jury nine hours of deliberations to reach the verdict which began Friday morning.
Members of Jackson’s family were present at the courthouse to hear the verdict, with many of them expressing their opinions that Dr Murray had killed their brother in the months after his death.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled in approximately six to eight weeks.