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Michael Jackson fans turn out for Conrad Murray sentencing

November 29, 2011 |  9:14 am

Conrad Murray in court in Oct 2011
From 30 to 40 Michael Jackson fans on Tuesday stood outside the courthouse where Dr. Conrad Murray was to be sentenced in the death of pop star Michael Jackson.

Jackie Papier, 50, of Redondo Beach, was wearing a T-shirt she made that read "Thriller Killer" on the back. She said she had set up a website to sell the shirts, with the proceeds going to two of Jackson's charities.

“I hope he gets the maximum sentence," Papier said of Murray. "I don’t believe you can pay any amount of money for a life. Dr. Murray obviously does not have that kind of money anyway. If he did, I’d say pay them [Jackson family], but to me, it’s just the principle."

Juan Carlos Hernandez, 35, of Los Angeles, wore a black sparkly suit and a hat. Written on the back of the suit were the words: “We support the Jacksons family."

Hernandez said he had been at the courthouse during Murray's trial.

"I think we just need to finish the case. People are tired," Hernandez said. "It's time to finish. Especially for the family, it's very important.”

Murray, who was convicted earlier this month of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, faces a sentence of up to four years in state prison.

But under the state's new prison realignment program, some offenders who would normally be sent to state prisons will instead serve time in county jails. Murray's case would qualify under that program. In addition, because of jail overcrowding, Murray's sentence would likely be greatly reduced -- or he could serve it in home detention.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who presided over Murray's trial, has already said he believes the physician poses a danger to society. After his conviction, Pastor ordered Murray held in jail until Tuesday's sentencing.

Murray's attorneys have argued that Murray has already suffered enough punishment through the loss of his medical license and public contempt.

"Dr. Murray's life will never be the same. He will forever be stigmatized as the doctor responsible for the death of Michael Jackson," his attorney Nareg Gourjian wrote in court papers filed before the sentencing.

Murray's defense asked for leniency and cited his work with the poor. They also included 34 letters of support from the doctor's patients, his relatives, pastors and friends.

Prosecutors said Murray deserves the maximum sentence.


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-- Matt Stevens and Harriet Ryan at L.A. County Superior Court

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court in October. Credit: Robyn Beck / Pool