After nearly six weeks of testimony and 10 hours of deliberation, the jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray has reached a verdict: Guilty. With that judgment, the 12 jurors unanimously agreed that Murray was solely responsible for causing Jackson's death by administering a deadly dose of the powerful sedative Propofol to the King of Pop. Jackson, who complained of insomnia in his final months, used the sedative as a sleeping agent, even though Propofol is only meant for surgical operations.
Jackson's parents Joe and Katherine and many of Michael's siblings (but not his three children) were on hand to observe the verdict. "I'm shaking uncontrollably," La Toya Jackson tweeted on her way to the Los Angeles courthouse. "Michael's spirit will be with us in the court room and he will make sure the right verdict is made." When the guilty verdict was read, a brief gasp of approval could be heard in the courtroom, but the court quickly regained order. Outside, hundreds of Jackson fans celebrated the guilty verdict.
After the verdict, having been found guilty of a felony, Murray's bail was denied and the doctor was remanded into custody until his sentencing. Then, the moment Jackson fans had been waiting for: Dr. Murray in handcuffs, being led out of the courtroom. Judge Michael Pastor will next decide Murray's fate on Tuesday, November 29th: The doctor faces a sentence of probation, a revoked medical license, and potentially four years in prison.
Anyone who watched the trial on a daily basis knew that a guilty verdict was essentially a foregone conclusion. The prosecution called witness after witness that painted a damning case against the doctor: Jackson bodyguards testified about how Murray acted improperly when trying to resuscitate the singer, how the doc failed to call paramedics in a timely matter, and Murray attempted to hide medical evidence in the hours after Jackson's death.
Paramedics corroborated much of that testimony, and the Los Angeles coroner and medical experts who specialized in sedatives also told the court that an overdose of Propofol was what caused Jackson to suffer cardiac arrest. Three of Murray's girlfriends said on the stand that the doctor had called them the night Jackson died, which suggested that he wasn't paying attention to his world famous patient. Even Murray's own interview with police investigators helped cement the case against him.
Murray's defense, meanwhile, responded with a strategy that suggested a suicidal Jackson administered the fatal dose of Propofol to himself, even though there was no evidence of Jackson's fingerprints on the sedative's vials. They also tried to imply evidence tampering and that other doctors were to blame for Jackson's drug addiction. In a Hail Mary move, the defense called some of the patients who loved and respected Murray to the stand in an attempt to humanize him to the jury, but by that point the burden of guilt had already weighed heavily against the defense. Murray had an opportunity to call himself as a defense witness and explain what happened the night of June 25, 2009, but he declined.
Finally, over two years after the death of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop's family and fans finally have some closure.
--By Daniel Kreps