By TERRI VERMEULEN KEITH
City News ServiceMichael Jackson’s personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter today for the pop superstar’s June 25, 2009, death from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol.
Dr. Conrad Murray, who faces up to four years in prison, remained stone-faced as the verdict was announced, showing no visible reaction.
The seven-man, five-women jury deliberated for about eight and a half hours before reaching a verdict. When the verdict was announced, some cries of
Yes’ could be heard from the courtroom audience.
Jackson’s parent’s, Katherine and Joe, were among those in the audience, along with his brother Jermaine and sister LaToya.
The jury heard from 49 witnesses — 33 for the prosecution and 16 for the defense — during the trial, in which testimony began Sept. 27 and ended Tuesday. Jurors heard nearly a full day of closing arguments Thursday from attorneys from both sides and deliberated for a full day Friday.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the panel that the evidence
is abundantly clear that Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence, that Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson, that Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father,’' Walgren said, referring to the singer’s three children.They do not have a father because of the actions of Conrad Murray.’'
Prosecutors allege that Murray gave the singer an intravenous fatal dose of propofol on June 25, 2009, then
abandoned’’ his patient by talking on the phone and looking at emails instead of monitoring him.
The 58-year-old cardiologist demonstrated
consciousness of guilt’’ by failing to tell paramedics and emergency room doctors that he had given the singer propofol and only told police about the drug two days later because he thought investigators had already found the medication at the singer’s home, Walgren said.
Murray told police he only left Jackson’s side for about two minutes to use the bathroom after giving the singer a 25-milligram dose of propofol that was slowly infused over three to five minutes beginning at about 10:40 a.m., in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented home, where he was staying while rehearsing for a series of 50 concerts in London.
Murray’s lead attorney, Edward Chernoff, argued that the most reasonable explanation for Jackson’s death was that the singer self-administered the fatal dose of propofol. He added that the evidence supports Murray’s statement to police that he gave Jackson a 25-milligram dose of propofol.
What they’re really asking you to do is convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,’' Chernoff told jurors in his closing argument.
He acknowledged that Murray may not have done everything right on the day the 50-year-old Jackson died but reminded jurors that the trial had not been a medical board hearing or about a civil lawsuit but rather about a man’s liberty.
If you’re going to hold Dr. Murray responsible, don’t do it because it’s Michael Jackson,’' he said.I hope you do the right thing and find Dr. Murray not guilty.’'