Houston's Conrad Murray On Trial
Michael Jackson doctor trial opens with explosive photos of the dead pop star:His siblings quietly watch
The Houston-based doctor is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of his patient, pop star Michael Jackson. For his opening statement, Los Angeles prosecutor David Walgren displayed a never-before-published photo of Jackson dead on a hospital gurney, and later compared the photo with one taken 12 hours earlier as Jackson rehearsed for his upcoming "This Is It" concert series.
"What you will learn through the evidence is that what happened during that time frame is that the acts and omissions of Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, directly led to his premature death at the age of 50," Walgren told the jury. Prosecutors also played a tape of Jackson recorded by Murray just over a month before Jackson's death, in which the singer's speech was almost unintelligibly slurred.
Jackson's death was ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County coroner's office, caused by lethal levels of the anesthetic propofol in his system, working in conjunction with two other sedatives. The defense opened by arguing that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose while Murray was away in the bathroom.
"Dr Murray provided propofol for sleep for two months for Michael Jackson. For those two months, Michael Jackson slept, he woke up, and he lived his life. He went to work, and he continued with what he felt he needed to do," said defense lawyer Ed Chernoff. "The evidence is not going to show you that Michael Jackson died when Dr Murray gave him propofol to sleep. What he evidence will show you, is that Michael Jackson died when Dr Murray stopped."
If convicted, Murray could face up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.
Jackson's parents and siblings LaToya, Janet, Jermaine, Randy, Rebbie and Tito quietly attended the hearing. Jackson's children were not present and are not expected to testify.
Prosecutors introduced a voice recording of Jackson that Murray made on May 10, 2009, showing the singer under the influence of "unknown agents":