Conrad Murray's fate soon to be in jury's hands as testimony ends
Prosecutors and defense attorneys rested their case Tuesday morning in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician.
The final witness was government expert Dr. Steven Shafer, who was briefly recalled to the stand to reiterate his earlier testimony that Dr. Conrad Murray probably left an intravenous drip of the anesthetic propofol running into Jackson’s veins after the singer’s heart stopped.
Shafer refuted a defense expert’s testimony that levels of the drug found in Jackson’s urine proved he was wrong. In that analysis, Dr. Paul White relied on an outdated 1988 study, Shafer said. In fact, more recent research on the drug supports his hypothesis on what happened in the hours leading up to the pop star’s death, Shafer testified.
The anesthesiologist, an expert on propofol, said the latest research also illustrated that Jackson could not have given himself an injection of the drug, the scenario White said was more likely.
“Does it absolutely rule out the hypothesis put forth by Dr. White?” Deputy Dist. Atty. David Walgren asked.
“Absolutely,” Shafer responded.
White, the defense’s final witness, completed his four-day testimony earlier Tuesday, during which he attacked the conclusions Shafer drew in the case.
Once White was off the stand, Murray told the judge that he will not be taking the stand in his own defense. After Shafer finished his testimony, both sides said they had no more witnesses.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve seen and heard all of the evidence in this case,” Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor told jurors at the downtown L.A. courthouse.
Defense attorneys called 16 witnesses to the stand in their weeklong case, including patients who painted Murray as a competent, caring doctor, and an addiction expert who testified that Jackson was probably an addict. A total of 49 witnesses have testified in the trial.
Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.
-- Victoria Kim at Los Angeles County Superior Court
Photo: Prosecution witness Dr. Steven Shafer testifies during Dr. Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles Tuesday. Credit: Pool / Reuters