A jury found Michael Jackson‘s doctor guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of the King of Pop.
Dr. Conrad Murray appeared stone-faced as the verdict was read Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom. The 58-year-old doctor, who is to be sentenced November 29, is facing up to four years in prison. He could also lose his medical license.
Jackson‘s sister LaToya screamed out upon hearing the verdict, while his crying mother, Katherine, was consoled by her son, Jermaine Jackson.
Murray‘s supporters looked somber over the news, with one shaking her head back and forth, mouthing the word “no.”
Jackson fans who had gathered outside the courtroom burst into applause and cheered as the verdict, “Guilty!,” was announced.
The decision was reached after less than nine hours of deliberation. The prosecution asked for Murray to be remanded into custody immediately. “He is now a convicted felon,” prosecutor David Walgren said.
Defense lawyer Ed Chernoff argued that he is not danger to the community before Murray was escorted out of the courtroom by the Sheriff.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009. The complete story of his death finally emerged during the six-week trial. It was the tale of a tormented genius on the brink of what might have been his greatest triumph with one impediment standing in his way — extreme insomnia.
Testimony came from medical experts, household employees and Murray‘s former girlfriends, among others.
The most shocking moments, however, came when prosecutors displayed a large picture of Jackson‘s gaunt, lifeless body on a hospital gurney and played the sound of his drugged, slurred voice, as recorded by Murray just weeks before the singer’s death.
Jackson talked about plans for a fantastic children’s hospital and his hope of cementing a legacy larger than that of Elvis Presley or The Beatles.
“We have to be phenomenal,” he said about his “This Is It” concerts in London. “When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, `I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.”‘
Throughout the trial, Jackson family members watched from the spectator gallery, fans gathered outside with signs and T-shirts demanding, “Justice for Michael,” and an international press corps broadcast reports around the world. The trial was televised and streamed on the Internet.
Prosecutors portrayed Murray as an incompetent doctor who used the anesthetic propofol without adequate safeguards and whose neglect left Jackson abandoned as he lay dying.
Murray‘s lawyers sought to show the doctor was a medical angel of mercy with former patients vouching for his skills. Murray told police from the outset that he gave Jackson propofol and other sedatives as the star struggled for sleep to prepare for his shows. But the doctor said he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died.
Lawyers for Murray and a defense expert blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself the fatal dose of propofol while Murray wasn’t watching. A prosecution expert said that theory was crazy.
Murray said he had formed a close friendship with Jackson, never meant to harm him and couldn’t explain why he died.
The circumstances of Jackson‘s death at the age of 50 were as bizarre as any chapter in the superstar’s sensational life story.
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