Jurors have reached a guilty verdict in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson. The jurors reached this verdict on the second day of deliberations.
Murray faces up to four years in prison for the pop star's death from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol when sentencing takes place. Sentencing has been set for Nov. 29. He may get as little as probation and will likely end up in county jail due to prison overcrowding.
No bail is being allowed for Murray.
Speaking at a press conference shortly after the verdict, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said the verdict was clear: "Overwhelming evidence in the case led to just one conclusion: That Conrad Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. We thank the jurors for their hard work and thoughtful deliberations."
Laurie Levenson, professor of law at Loyola Law School, noted that Murray was being remanded into custody and "that means that there is probably a prison sentence coming down the road." Murray was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.
"This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being," said Judge Michael Pastor.
"I think there were very few people that were surprised by this verdict, including Conrad Murray," Levenson told KPCC. "You didn't have to prove that he intended to kill Michael Jackson, just that he practiced gross negligence."
The judge thanked the jury for their service while letting them know they may now discuss the case, though they must wait 90 days to accept payment or benefit for giving information about the trial. The location of the jurors' homes is also sealed.
"I remember way back when in early September when first we met, I advised you at the time that you were being asked to accept the responsibility of citizenship in this country," the judge told the jury. "You have undertaken the responsibility of jury duty in a remarkable fashion." The judge also acknowledged that the case took longer than he had told them it would and the disruption this had been in their lives.
The jury apparently believed the prosecution's case, with evidence mounting that Murray failed to fulfill his rightful duty as a doctor. Prosecutors had said that even a child would know to call 911 in an emergency, while Murray waited 20 minutes.
Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, agreed on Monday's Patt Morrison Show.
"The use of that drug is the equivalent of putting Michael Jackson to sleep by hitting him in the head every night with a hammer," he said.
The seven-man, five-woman jury received about a half an hour of instruction from the judge before beginning deliberations on the single count against Murray. The trial featured 50 witnesses and about a hundred pieces of evidence before closing arguments.
Deputy district attorney David Walgren argued for the prosecution. “Conrad Murray abandoned Michael Jackson. Conrad Murray gave him propofol and abandoned him," Walgren said. "Conrad Murray is criminally liable. Justice demands a guilty verdict."
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff represented Murray. “This is not a reality show. It's reality," Chernoff said. "The decision you make isn’t making good TV. It affects real human beings and the people who love them. So I hope you do the right thing and find Dr. Murray not guilty.”
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. He began administering the drug 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.
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.