LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter after a trial that painted him as a reckless caregiver who administered a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic that killed the pop star.
The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture’s most shocking tragedies — the death of the King of Pop on the eve of the singer’s heavily promoted comeback concerts.
Members of Jackson’s family wept quietly after the verdict was read, and his mother, Katherine Jackson later said, “I feel better now.”
La Toya Jackson said she was overjoyed. “Michael was looking over us,” she said on her way out of the courthouse.
Murray sat stone-faced during the verdict and was handcuffed and taken into custody without bail until sentencing Nov. 29. He appeared calm as officials led him out of the courtroom.
“Dr. Murray’s reckless conduct in this case poses a demonstrable risk to the safety of the public” if he remains free on bond, Judge Michael E. Pastor said.
District Attorney Steve Cooley said it will be difficult to achieve an appropriate sentence for Murray because of a new state prison-alignment law that allows early release for people convicted of nonviolent felonies. He said his office gave the case the same attention it would give a
lower-profile case, but conceded that because of the identity of the victim, “obviously this takes on a viral dimension.”
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the sympathies of prosecutors went out to the Jackson family who have “lost not a pop icon but a son and a father.”
It was unclear whether the jury determined that Murray had administered the fatal dose of propofol while deciding he was responsible for the death of Jackson. Prosecutors had said Murray violated at least 17 separate standards of care, a number of which could have resulted in death.
A shriek broke the silence in the packed courtroom when the verdict was read, and the crowd erupted outside the courthouse. The jury deliberated less than nine hours. The Houston cardiologist, 58, faces a sentence of up to four years in prison. He could also lose his medical license.