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Michael Jackson’s Personal Physician Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter

It has been over two years since the sudden death of the King of Pop and on Monday a California jury finally made the decision whether or not Jackson’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, was to blame. After sitting through a six-week trial and hearing over 49 witnesses, the jury deliberated for over seven hours and found Murray guilty of gross medical negligence.

The main issue in the trial was whether or not Murray caused Jackson’s death by administering the powerful anesthetic propofol and not properly supervising his patient or taking proper steps after Jackson stopped breathing. Murray’s defense team claimed the propofol was being used to treat Jackson’s extreme sleep deprivation. According to the defense, Jackson’s dermatologist had gotten Jackson addicted to Demerol after numerous surgeries and withdrawal from the drug was causing severe sleep deprivation. This was the reason Murray began the singer on propofol. On the day of Jackson’s death, Murray claims that he administered a small dose of the drug, which was not enough to kill, and left the room. It was during this time that the defense claimed Jackson gave himself an additional dose of the drug. Therefore, the defense argued the dermatologist and Jackson were to blame for the singer’s death.

The defense’s argument was a hard sell at trial. No testimony was ever given by any expert that justified Murray’s use of propofol to treat Jackson’s sleep deprivation. There was no evidence introduced that supported Murray’s claim that he left Jackson alone in his room so Jackson could give himself an additional dose. Finally, the prosecution pointed out that Murray was paid $150,000 a month, which is $1.8 million a year, to give the singer the drug.

Since the verdict was rendered, there are many differing opinions on the outcome of the trial. Some applaud the jury for finding the doctor guilty. They believe that using such a powerful anesthetic in this situation was negligent and not properly supervising Jackson while on the powerful drug was the direct cause of his death. Others think Murray is being used as a scapegoat. They believe Jackson had been abusing medications for years, without Murray’s help. Given his proclivity to abuse drugs, it is highly likely that Jackson did give himself an additional dose. Shouldn’t that cast some reasonable doubt on Murray’s guilty of manslaughter? Many think Murray is guilty of medical malpractice, but not involuntary manslaughter.

Despite which side you agree with, society will be a safer place once Murray’s medical license is suspended, which will happen due to the conviction. The rest of Murray’s consequences will be heard on November 29, 2011, which is when his sentencing is scheduled. He faces a maximum of four years in prison but could get only probation or community service. However, this may be the least of Murray’s worries. The Jackson family will be filing a civil medical malpractice lawsuit against Murray and the damages from this trial could be astronomical.


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