Angry judge gives Conrad Murray 4 years in Michael Jackson's death
A judge on Tuesday sentenced Dr. Conrad Murray to four years behind bars -- the maximum punishment possible -- for his part in Michael Jackson's death, saying the doctor’s role in the singer’s fatal overdose was “money-for-medicine madness.”
In blistering and lengthy remarks, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor lambasted Murray for failing to express any remorse for the pop star’s death and suggesting in a recent documentary that Jackson bore responsibility for his own demise.
“Talk about blaming the victim,” Pastor said. “Not only isn’t there any remorse, there is umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent.”
Pastor denied the defense's request for probation.
"The fact remains, Dr. Murray is offended that [his] patient died," Pastor said in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. And Murray remains a danger to the community, he said.
Pastor said that he had been impressed by statements from Murray's friends and family, who talked about his treatment of the poor. He said that he considered the entirety of Murray's life, something defense attorney Ed Chernoff had urged him to do.
But he said he had also considered "the book" of Michael Jackson's life.
"Regrettably, as far as Dr. Murray is concerned, the most significant chapter as it relates to this case is the chapter involving the treatment or lack of treatment of Michael Jackson," Pastor said.
He called Murray's treatment a "disgrace to the medical profession."
“Michael Jackson died not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident," Pastor said. "He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Dr. Murray, not some mistake or some accident in the early morning hours of 2009."
He said Murray engaged in a "horrible cycle of medicine."
Prosecutors had also argued that Murray should serve the maximum sentence, citing his "lies," "coverup" and "concealment."
"Conrad Murray knew perfectly well that what he was doing was wrong," Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren said. "He knew perfectly well that what he was doing was risking Michael Jackson's life."
Over a four-week case, prosecutors painted Murray as a deceptive and incompetent doctor who abandoned his medical judgment in complying with Jackson's request to be given a surgical anesthetic to put him to sleep.
Witnesses testified to many egregious medical missteps -– giving propofol in an unmonitored setting, fumbling at basic resuscitation, keeping no records –- failures that experts said directly led to Jackson's overdose death.
As his famed patient stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest under the influence of propofol, jurors were told, the doctor chatted on the phone and sent and received email and text messages. And in the crucial moments after he discovered the singer had stopped breathing, he delayed calling for help and lied to paramedics and emergency doctors, witnesses said.
-- Harriet Ryan and Kimi Yoshino
Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray listens as Judge Michael Pastor sentences him to four years behind bars for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. The image is a screen grab from pool video in Los Angeles. Credit: Pool