Michael Jackson’s personal doctor was found guilty on Monday of involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death following a six-week trial that captivated Jackson fans around the world.
Dr. Conrad Murray had pleaded not guilty to giving the “Thriller” singer a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, which was ruled as the main cause of the pop star’s June 25, 2009 death.
Prosecutors had argued Murray was grossly negligent in administering the propofol to help Jackson sleep. Defense attorneys claimed Jackson delivered the fatal dose of propofol to himself.
Murray, 58, did not testify at the Los Angeles trial and could face up to four years in prison and could be banned from practicing medicine when the judge decides his sentence at a later date.
Murray swallowed briefly on hearing the verdict but otherwise looked impassive. Outside the court, more than 100 Jackson fans erupted in cheers.
The jury deliberated for about nine hours before reaching its unanimous verdict.
Jackson was found lifeless at his Los Angeles mansion on June 25, 2009, age 50, about three weeks before he was scheduled to begin a series of concerts in London aimed at returning the pop star to the limelight.
Paramedics tried to revive the singer and rushed his body to a hospital where he was
pronounced dead. His death was ruled to have come from an overdose of sedatives and propofol, which is normally used in surgery.
Murray admitted giving Jackson a small dose of propofol to help him sleep. But his lawyers argued at the trial that the singer was dependent on the drug and that Jackson likely gave himself a extra, fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic, as well as swallowing a handful of sedatives, without Murray’s knowledge.
Since opening on September 27, the trial at Los Angeles Superior Court has heard from 49 witnesses –33 for the prosecution, and 16 for the defense.
In his closing arguments last week, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said Murray caused the star’s death through negligence and greed, depriving Jackson’s children of their father and the world of a “genius.”
Walgren, summing up an “overwhelming case” against Murray, claimed the medic concocted lies to cover his tracks – specifically about the timeline on the day Jackson died, and not telling paramedics what drugs he had given.
He alleged that Murray above all wanted to protect his $150,000 a month salary for looking after Jackson, describing how the doctor agreed to treat the star’s insomnia with the anesthetic propofol against all medical advice.
Prosecutors argued Murray was guilty of gross negligence for administering the powerful drug in a home setting, failing to monitor Jackson, delaying calling emergency services, and failing to tell medical personnel he gave the singer propofol.
Family and fans
The verdict triggering an explosion of joy and relief from Jackson’s family and fans.
Crowds of supporters outside erupted as the verdict was announced, while minutes later judge Michael Pastor ordered the 58-year-old medic handcuffed and remanded in custody, pending sentencing later this month.
Jackson’s mother Katherine cried and was hugged by one of his brothers, after jury convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter for giving him an overdose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009.
“Justice was served,” his brother Jermaine said as he and the rest of the family braved huge crowds to leave the building, while sister Rebbie added: “Nothing will bring him back, but I’m happy (Murray) was found guilty.”
“VICTORY!!!!!!” tweeted La Toya. “We’re Most Proud of The WALGREN team, U did a EXCELLENT JOB N UR quest 2 seek justice 4 Michael & my family,” referring to prosecutor David Walgren.
Outside the court vuvuzelas blared and fans danced to the thudding groove of “Beat It” after the verdict was handed down.
LA local Lawrence Kolb was gathered with others around an iPad outside the courthouse, watching the verdict on live television. “Everyone just screamed,” he said. “Everyone was jubilant.”