Judge sends Conrad Murray to jail, calling him threat to public safety
A judge on Monday ordered Dr. Conrad Murray to jail, just a few minutes after a jury found him guilty in the death of Michael Jackson.
Judge Michael Pastor ordered Murray held without bail, citing the seriousness of the crime.
"Dr. Murray's reckless conduct" poses a threat to public safety, he said.
“This is not a crime involving a mistake of judgment,” Pastor said. “This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being. That factor demonstrates rather dramatically that the public should be protected.”
As Pastor was giving his order, a bailiff handcuffed Murray behind his back while he was sitting in his seat.
His attorney argued Murray should remain free until sentencing, noting he had family obligations. "There is no reason to remand him under these circumstances," he said.
Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for causing the pop icon's 2009 death by a powerful surgical anesthetic.
The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray comes after a jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about nine hours over two days. The 58-year-old cardiologist, who was charged with the lowest possible homicide offense, faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison and a minimum sentence of probation.
Murray now also faces the probable loss of his medical license. California authorities already suspended his right to practice, but medical boards in Nevada and Texas agreed to wait to evaluate licenses he holds in their states until after the criminal case.
Over four weeks, 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 emails 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.
Central to the government's case were the doctor's own words from a police interview two days after Jackson's death. In the 2-1/2-hour tape, Murray admitted to giving the singer the propofol -– caving in after Jackson repeatedly begged for it, he said -– as well as two other drugs earlier in the day.
Admissions in the interview were enough evidence of the doctor's guilt, witnesses said. But the prosecution's star witness also said levels of the drug found during an autopsy showed Murray lied about how much propofol he administered. Dr. Steven Shafer, a renowned anesthesiologist and propofol expert, said the only plausible scenario was that Murray left a large drip of the anesthetic running into Jackson's blood after he was dead.
-- Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan
Photo: A bailiff handcuffs Dr. Conrad Murray behind his back in court Monday. Credit: Pool photo