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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Michael Jackson's doctor found GUILTY of manslaughter in King of Pop's death

-Jury deliberated for just ten hours over the course of two days
-Trial featured 50 witnesses and 22 days of testimony
-Conrad Murray denied bail and left court in handcuffs
-Sentencing scheduled for November 29

By David Gardner In Los Angeles

Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray, seen here as the verdict was read, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Monday in his 2009 death in a rented Los Angles mansion

Michael Jackson's private doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty today of killing the King of Pop.

Dr Conrad Murray was led out of court in handcuffs after being remanded without bail to await his sentencing on November 29

The 58-year-old cardiologist faces up to four years behind bars after the jury at Los Angeles Superior Court convicted him of involuntary manslaughter.

Murray was handcuffed by officers in the courtroom and led out by bailiffs. He is being held without bail until his November 29th sentencing

Wearing a grey pin-striped suit and a blue tie, Murray looked stunned as the jury's decision was read out after two days and ten hours of deliberations.

Just as he has through most of the trial, Murray remained stoic as Judge Michael Pastor dismissed an appeal for him to be released on bail pending his sentencing hearing.

A sheriff's deputy leaned over while Murray sat at the defence table and handcuffed him before leading him out of the court to the cells.

Jackson's sister, La Toya, screamed out when the verdict was read out and her older sister, Rebbie, held her head in her hands.

Dr Conrad Murray listens as the verdict in his involuntary manslaughter trial is announced in Los Angeles

No one appeared more stunned by the guilty verdict than Conrad Murray himself, who looked understandably distraught as he was put in cuffs. one his daughters sat crying in a row behind him

Randy was closest to the jury and 17 members of Jackson family in all were sitting in the court. He massaged mother, Katherine's shoulders as she cried after the verdict was read out.

Outside the court, hundreds of Jackson fans cheered when they heard the verdict.

Judge Pastor said Murray's 'reckless conduct' meant he was a danger to the public.

Leaving the court, Jermaine Jackson said: 'Justice was served, but it wasn't enough time. Michael is with us.'

Sister LaToya, wiping back tears, added: 'Thank you America, thank you everyone.

Everybody was wonderful. Michael loves everybody. He was in that courtroom with us - that's why justice was served.

Older sister Rebbe said: 'I am just happy it's all over. Nothing will bring Michael back but I am just happy that he was found guilty.'

Prosecutor David Walgren thanked the 'diligent' jury. 'Our sympathies go out to the Jackson family for the loss they have suffered. Not as a pop icon but as a son and a brother,' he added.

Prosecutors said the conviction meant Murray would automatically lose his medical licence.

LaToya Jackson later tweeted 'VICTORY'.

Murray's lawyers said they weren't planning to make any official statement after the hearing, but Ed Chernoff said he was 'not shocked' at the verdict.

He said he was planning to request another bail hearing to try and get Murray released while he awaits his November 29 sentencing.

Murray's mother and his girlfriend, former exotic dancer Nicole Alvarez, refused to comment outside the court.

Murray nodded to them before being led off to jail.

The verdict came after nearly 50 witnesses, 22 days of testimony and less than two days of deliberation by a jury of seven men and five women.

Announcing the verdict, the judge thanked the jurors for their civic duty.

Michael Jackson's sister LaToya Jackson (C) speaks to the media as she leaves the courthouse with Kathy and Rick Hilton (R) following the guilty verdict

Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, is surrounded by police officers as she leaves the courthouse after the reading of the guilty verdict

'I remember way back when in September when we first met, I asked you at that time to accept responsibility of citizenship and told you that I understood that serving on this jury would be a hardship and a burden because you have your own lives and responsibility to your jobs, profession and family.

'You have undertaken the responsibility in a remarkable fashion. You have made sacrifices and had to endures burdens, delays and a case that ran over the time I had told you you would have to serve.

'You have been remarkable in conscientiousness, patience, respect and never been late. For that we are very appreciative. I know that serving on a case of this sort interferes with everyday life and I personally thanks you for your time and efforts.'

In what was billed as the most closely watched celebrity trial in history, a procession of witnesses gave starkly contrasting views of the 58-year-old doctor.

During the trial, prosecutors painted Murray as a greedy opportunist who threw his medical knowhow out of the window to cater to the dangerously bizarre whims of a superstar.

The defence painted him as a caring cardiologist battling against the odds to help his celebrity patient from self-destructing.

But after six weeks of evidence, the jurors agreed on one crucial factor - that Murray was responsible for Jackson's death.

In the end it came down to the fact that the doctor acted with criminal negligence in administering a deadly dose of propofol to the star who was desperate to get some sleep to rehearse for his looming comeback tour at London's O2 Arena.

Randy and sister Rebbie Jackson also arrived before the verdict was announced to honor their brother

LaToya Jackson arrived with Rick and Kathy Hilton, far right. La Toya tweeted that she was 'shaking uncontrollably!' as she made her way to the courthouse and then screamed inside once the verdict was read

Michael Jackson's parents Joe and Katherine Jackson arrived together at the courthouse shortly before the verdict was read

Murray was accused of botching any hopes of reviving the star by delaying more than 20 minutes before calling 911 for help after discovering Jackson lifeless on his bed on June 25, 2009.

Then he lied about using propofol - a powerful drug that is only supposed to be used in a hospital setting - to cover up his guilt, keeping the fact that he used the sedative from paramedics and emergency room doctors.

One medical expert outlined seventeen separate failures in the accepted standards of care in Murray's treatment of the 50-year-old singer, each of which could have possibly played a part in his death.

Michael Jackson fans wait outside the courthouse for the reading of the verdict in Dr Conrad Murray's trial in Los Angeles

Jackson fans and supporters have turned out every day over the months of the trial

The cheers and applause erupted when the guilty verdict was read and could be heard inside the courtroom

Michael Jackson fans outside the Apollo theatre in the Harlem section of New York City react to the reading of the verdict

Fans of Michael Jackson sombrely wait for the verdict outside the courthouse

People react after hearing the guilty verdict in the Dr Conrad Murray trial outside the courthouse in Los Angeles

Michael Jackson fan Felicia Wilson wipes a tear after hearing the guilty verdict

Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the jury they needed to agree on just one life threatening blunder to find him guilty.

He said Murray's use of propofol to treat Jackson's chronic insomnia was an 'obscene experiment'.

Walgren rejected claims that Jackson was falling apart and hooked on painkiller drugs and insisted that the 50-year-old star was excited and optimistic about his future and was planning to buy a new, stable home for his family and end their nomadic 'vagabond' lifestyle.

The trial started sensationally with a photo of Jackson's dead body lying on a hospital gurney shown to the jury during opening arguments. A shocking tape of Jackson's slurred voice was also played in the courtroom on the first day.

Prosecutors then quizzed a series of witnesses who offered damning accounts of Murray's care for Jackson in the final months, days and hours of his life.

As it proceeded, the trial came more down to a battle of the scientists who argued over the dangers and benefits of propofol.

One of the key battles of the experts was between two anaesthesiologists.

NOT PRESENT: Jackson's three children Prince, 14, Blanket, 9, and Paris, 13, have stayed away from the entire trial as well as staying away from the verdict

The jury was sensationally shown this image of Jackson's dead body by the prosecution early on in Murray's trial

Prosecution star witness Dr Steven Shafer was scathing about the dangers Murray exposed Jackson to by using propofol without the proper equipment or staff, but he was branded a 'cop' by the defence for his zealous testimony.

Dr Paul White, testifying for the prosecution, was lambasted by Walgren for his flimsy research and the 'junk science' he used to try and explain how Jackson could have caused his own death by self-administering propofol while Murray left the bedside to go to the toilet.

The defence insisted Murray was cast as a scapegoat by the authorities who needed someone to blame for the tragedy.

'Somebody's got to say it: If it were anybody else but Michael Jackson, if it were anybody else, would this doctor be here today?' defence lawyer Ed Chernoff said in his closing argument on Thursday.

Chernoff said Murray was under immense pressure to administer the knock-out drug from Jackson and the promoters of the lucrative sell-out comeback concerts. Jackson himself even threatened to cancel the tour if he couldn't get enough sleep to rehearse.

'He was just a little fish in a big dirty pond,' said Chernoff.

Murray chose not to go on the stand, perhaps fearing he would harm his case still further under harsh examination from the prosecution. He showed little emotion despite being excoriated by some witnesses, but his lawyers sought to show him as a sympathetic figure and summoned a number of former heart patients to vouch for his expertise and generosity.

Jackson was paying $100,000 a month to live this rented Bel Air mansion at the time of his death in one of its many upstairs bedrooms

Despite speculation to the contrary, Jackson's children, Prince, 14, Paris, 13 and nine-year-old Blanket did not give evidence and were kept away from the spectacle surrounding the trial.

But Walgren focused on the children's loss in his closing speech to the jury, blaming Murray for robbing them of their father.

'For them, this case doesn't end today or tomorrow or the next day,' he said. 'For Michael's children, this case will go on forever because they do not have a father.'

Jackson's parents, Joe and Katherine, and siblings Janet, LaToya, Jermaine and Randy were regularly in the public gallery on the ninth floor of the Los Angeles Superior Court building while Murray's mother watched from the other side of the public gallery.

Every day, Jackson fans lined the street outside the downtown court waving placards and demanding justice for their musical hero.

At Judge Michael Pastor's instigation, the jury was not allowed to hear much about Murray's tangled love life. Although he is married, he has fathered at least seven children with six different women.

His doctor wife lives in Las Vegas with their two children, but the court heard that Murray lives with mistress Nicole Alvarez, a former stripper, in Santa Monica, California.



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