Michael Jackson memorial
Michael Jackson's star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. Image: Jay Santiago/Flickr/CC BY-ND

Nearly two and a half years after the death of pop legend Michael Jackson, his personal physician has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The verdict was handed down Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Murray emotionless

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for less than nine hours in the highly publicized case before returning its verdict. They concluded that the evidence was sufficient beyond reasonable doubt that Murray caused the singer’s death. Dr. Conrad Murray sat emotionless as the verdict was read.

Members of the Jackson family wept openly in the courtroom. The late singer’s mother Katherine Jackson told the Associated Press: “I feel better now.”

Mrs. Jackson and her husband Joe released a statement to TMZ after the verdict was announced:

“Even though nothing can bring back our son, justice has finally been served. We can’t wait to go home and share this day with Michael’s children.”

In custody without bail

Cardiologist Dr. Murray, 58, was led out of the court in handcuffs. He will remain in custody without bail until sentencing on Nov. 29. His attorneys left the courtroom without comment.

Donna DiGiacomo, Murray’s friend and former patient, told the press that she believed the jury was under “overwhelming pressure to convict. … This man didn’t deserve this. They needed a scapegoat.”

A media frenzy

The highly publicized trial stirred a media frenzy. Fans gathered daily outside the courtroom throughout the trial, calling for “justice for Michael.” Before the verdict was read, the crowds chanted “guilty, guilty, guilty” and “This is it, this is it.” The latter comment refers to a concert tour the singer was poised to embark on the day after his death.

Tortured by insomnia

Michael Jackson, who suffered cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009, was tormented with debilitating insomnia, according to court testimony. Murray sought to combat the insomnia with the drug propofol, an anesthetic commonly used by veterinarians.

The Los Angeles County coroner report said Jackson’s death was the result of “acute propofol intoxication.”

Arguments in the case

Prosecutors in the case called Murray negligent because he had been administering the drug in a drip in the singer’s bedroom. Commonly, it is administered only in a clinical environment with medical safeguards in place.

Murray’s lawyers sought to blame Jackson for his own death, saying the singer administered the fatal dosage himself after the doctor had left.

Murray could face up to four years in prison and could be stripped of his medical license.

Sources

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/07/us-michaeljackson-murray-idUSTRE7A24F920111107
MSNBC: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45161548/ns/today-entertainment/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/conrad-murray-guilty-verdict_n_1074088.html

 

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