The seven-man, five-woman panel listened intently Thursday as prosecutors
and defense attorneys argued over whether Murray should be convicted of
involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s death in June 2009. The physician’s
attorneys attacked prosecutors and their witnesses, saying they had over
time developed stories and theories that placed the blame for Jackson’s
death squarely on Murray.
Media were camped outside the courthouse and in the courtroom where the
jury’s decision will eventually be read. There was no sign of Murray
or attorneys handling the case, but they will receive a two-hour notice
when a verdict is reached. Murray waived the need for his presence if
the panel asks any questions, but must be present when a verdict is reached.
Jackson died from a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol; Murray has acknowledged
giving Jackson propofol to help him sleep.
The real reason Jackson died, defense attorney Ed Chernoff argued, was
because he craved the powerful anesthetic so much that he gave himself
a fatal injection when Murray left his bedside.
"They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,"
"Poor Conrad Murray," prosecutor David Walgren replied in his
final speech to jurors. "Michael Jackson is dead. And we have to
hear about poor Conrad Murray and no doctor knows what it’s like
to be in his shoes."
Walgren noted that several doctors who testified – including two
who were called by Murray’s attorneys – said they would have
never given the singer anesthesia in his bedroom.
Murray is solely to blame for Jackson’s death, Walgren argued, saying
Murray had purchased more than four gallons of propofol to administer
to Jackson and had been giving him nightly doses to help him sleep.
Walgren repeatedly described Murray’s treatments on Jackson as unusual
and called his actions on the day of the singer’s death –
including not calling 911 and not mentioning his propofol doses to paramedics
or other doctors – "bizarre."
Murray was essentially experimenting on Jackson, Walgren said. Murray should
have known Jackson might die from the treatments, yet he lacked the proper
life-saving and monitoring equipment.
"What is unusual and unpredictable is that Michael Jackson lived as
long as he did under the care of Conrad Murray in this situation,"
The prosecutor repeatedly invoked the singer’s children, Prince,
Paris and Blanket, and said Murray’s actions left them without a
father. The children, who range in ages from 9 to 14, were not present,
but Jackson’s parents and several of his siblings attended closing
The Houston-based cardiologist’s culpability will be decided by jurors,
who heard from 49 witnesses and have more than 300 pieces of evidence
to consider. They were given lengthy instructions about how to deliberate
and interpret the case.
If Murray is convicted, he faces a sentence that ranges from probation
to four years behind bars, and he would lose his medical license. The
sentence will be decided by Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor and not
the jury; the judge will receive input from attorneys for both sides and
probation officials if necessary. A recent change in California law means
that Murray, 58, might serve any incarceration in a county jail rather
than a state prison.
If acquitted, Murray would be free from criminal prosecution, but will
likely be pursued by medical licensing authorities in the states of California,
Nevada and Texas.
In order to convict Murray, jurors will have to determine the cardiologist
was substantially responsible for Jackson’s death.
Despite days of scientific testimony about what likely happened in Jackson’s
bedroom from experts for Murray and the prosecution, Walgren acknowledged
that some things about the events in the King of Pop’s bedroom that
led to his death will never be known.
"The people won’t prove exactly what happened behind those closed
doors," he said. "Michael Jackson could give answers, but he
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contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no charge or obligation
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*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult