Conrad Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson case

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s personal physician
has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for causing the pop
icon’s 2009 death by a powerful surgical anesthetic.

verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray comes after a jury of seven men and
five women deliberated for about nine hours over two days. The
58-year-old cardiologist, who was charged with the lowest possible
homicide offense, faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison
and a minimum sentence of probation.

Murray now
also faces the probable loss of his medical license. California
authorities already suspended his right to practice, but medical boards
in Nevada and Texas agreed to wait to evaluate licenses he holds in
their states until after the criminal case.

Over a
four-week case, prosecutors painted Murray as a deceptive and
incompetent doctor who abandoned his medical judgment in complying with
Jackson’s request to be given a surgical anesthetic to put him to sleep.

testified to many egregious medical missteps — giving propofol in an
unmonitored setting, fumbling at basic resuscitation, keeping no records
— failures that experts said directly led to Jackson’s overdose death.

his famed patient stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest under
the influence of propofol, jurors were told, the doctor chatted on the
phone and sent and received email and text messages. And in the crucial
moments after he discovered the singer had stopped breathing, he delayed
calling for help and lied to paramedics and emergency doctors,
witnesses said.

Central to the government’s case
were the doctor’s own words from a police interview two days after
Jackson’s death. In the 2 1/2-hour tape, Murray admitted to giving the
singer the propofol — caving after Jackson repeatedly begged for it, he
said — as well as two other drugs earlier in the day.

in the interview were enough evidence enough of the doctor’s guilt,
witnesses said. But the prosecution’s star witness also said levels of
the drug found during an autopsy showed Murray lied about how much
propofol he administered. Dr. Steven Shafer, a renowned anesthesiologist
and propofol expert, said the only plausible scenario was that Murray
left a large drip of the anesthetic running into Jackson’s blood after
he was dead.

The doctor’s defense presented to
jurors an alternate theory pointing the blame at Jackson himself. Under
mounting pressure to perform and addicted to a painkiller that rendered
him completely unable to sleep, the pop star swallowed a sedative and
injected himself with propofol — a mixture that killed him instantly,
they contended.

No defense witness, however,
addressed head-on a point the prosecution’s medical experts repeatedly
drove home: that even if Jackson died by his own hand, Murray was
equally liable for leaving Jackson alone.

attorneys called to the stand former patients of Murray’s who countered
the government’s portrayal, calling him a caring, skilled physician who
treated low-income patients for free.


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