Conrad Murray, the doctor charged with administering a deadly dose of the hospital-grade sedative Propofol to Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter today in a Los Angeles courtroom. He faces up to four years in prison and the prospect of losing his medical license.
"We have been waiting for this moment for a very long time and we couldn't hold back tears of joy in the courtroom," Jackson's parents Joe and Katherine said in a statement to TMZ. "Even though nothing can bring back our son, justice has finally been served!"
Over the course of Murray's 23-day-long trial frequently attended by Jackson's mother, Katherine, and sister Janet, jurors heard testimony from the prosecution arguing Murray acted with criminal negligence, giving the King of Pop an extremely strong drug not designed for use outside of hospitals, and then failing to call an ambulance in a timely manner. The doctor's defense team had their own version of events, alleging Jackson administered himself the fatal dose of Propofol out of frustration — and while their client was not in the room — because he couldn't fall asleep and final rehearsals for his 50-date This Is It shows at London's O2 Arena were looming. Jackson, 50, died mere days before he was set to stage his first comeback show — rehearsals for This Is It were later collected into the concert film of the same name, which depicted Jackson in better health than many had assumed, singing and dancing to his biggest hits.
The prosecution called nearly double the number of witnesses as the defense, presenting evidence that Murray was preoccupied on the phone with several women he'd been dating when he should have been watching over his patient, that Murray didn't call 911 once he noticed Jackson was in distress (but instead called the singer's personal assistant), that Murray asked Jackson's bodyguard to perform CPR, and that Murray failed to disclose to emergency personnel exactly what drugs he'd given Jackson in the hours prior to his cardiac arrest.
Murray never took the stand in his own defense, though his voice was heard on police recordings made during interviews conducted in the days following Jackson's death. The crux of the defense rested on the testimony of Propofol expert Dr. Paul White, who claimed Jackson consumed a sizable dose of the sedative lorazepam and then gave himself an injection of Propofol.
The jury — seven men and five women — deliberated for approximately 10 hours Friday and today before signaling they'd arrived at a verdict. Jackson fans and supporters of Murray flooded the courthouse as Jackson's family members assembled to hear the verdict. The defense asked the court to remand their client without bail until his sentencing hearing.