Dr Conrad Murray, 58, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the jury decided his treatment of the singer had been criminally negligent. Murray, who will lose his medical licence, sat stone-faced as the unanimous verdict was delivered.
He was handcuffed and remanded in custody for sentencing on Nov 29. He faces a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.
Jackson’s mother Katherine and the singer’s sister Rebbie cried silently as the guilty verdict was read. His siblings La Toya, Jermaine and Randy, and his father Joe, were also on hand.
Judge Michael Pastor told the court: “The end result was the death of a human being. That fact demonstrates that the public should be protected. Dr Murray’s reckless conduct poses a demonstrable risk to the safety of the public.”
La Toya Jackson, wiping back tears, pointed to the sky and thanked the legions of fans who kept her brother’s memory alive.
“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,” she said.
Leaving the court, Jermaine Jackson said: “Justice was served, but it wasn’t enough time. Michael is with us.”
Family matriarch Katherine Jackson said she was confident this would be the outcome of the trial. “I feel better now,” she said.
Jackson was found lifeless at his Los Angeles mansion on June 25, 2009, age 50, about three weeks before he was scheduled to begin a series of concerts in London aimed at returning the pop star to the limelight after the humiliation of his 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation.
A coroner later concluded that the singer, 50, died in his bed from “acute intoxication” as a result of the anaesthetic propofol. Murray had admitted giving Jackson a small amount of propofol, a powerful surgical anaesthetic intended only for use in hospitals, but claimed it should not have been enough to kill him.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Murray was guilty of gross negligence for administering the drug in a home setting, failing to monitor Jackson, delaying calling emergency services, and failing to tell medical personnel he gave the singer propofol.
Meanwhile, defence lawyers claimed Jackson injected himself with an extra, lethal dose of the drug while Murray had stepped out of the room for “two minutes” to use the bathroom. But the jury of seven men and five women decided, after less than nine hours deliberation, that Murray was responsible for the singer’s death.
At the time Murray noticed Jackson had stopped breathing Murray was on the phone to a cocktail waitress in Houston instead of monitoring his patient, the court heard. Murray then failed to contact emergency services for more than 20 minutes, during which time he attempted to hide vials of drugs and an IV bag which the prosecution said had been used to administer the propofol.
Rather than calling 911, Murray appeared to go into a panic. He called Jackson’s oldest son, Paris, to the room, where Jackson was lying on his back, with his eyes open and palms up. Paris started crying, knowing his father was dead.
Cardiologists and anaesthesiologists testified that Murray had committed numerous egregious acts of negligence while caring for Jackson and should never have given Jackson such a drug outside of a hospital setting.
At the time of Jackson’s death Murray was not certified as a cardiology specialist, his certification having run out in 2008.
On the street outside, more than 100 Jackson fans whooped with joy and chanted “Thank you judge!” as the guilty verdict, announced live on television, was read.
At the same time prison overcrowding in California means Murray is unlikely to serve all of his sentence behind bars.
Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said: “It will be very difficult to achieve an appropriate period of incarceration for Dr. Conrad Murray.” [via The Telegraph, Reuters, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph]