A stone-faced Murray appeared to show no emotion as the verdict was read by court clerk Sammi Benson, but someone in the gallery let out a loud, but short scream.
Sentencing was set for November 29, with Murray facing up to four years in prison on the conviction. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ordered Murray to be held without bail until that date, and Murray was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.
“This is not a crime involving a mistake of judgment. … This was a crime where the end result was the death of a human being,” Pastor said in explaining his decision to remand Murray to police custody. “That factor demonstrates rather dramatically that the public should be protected.”
Murray served as Jackson’s personal physician as Jackson prepared for his comeback concerts, with Murray giving him the surgical anesthetic propofol to help him sleep nearly every night for the last two months of his life, according to testimony.
Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, was caused by “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with two sedatives, the Los Angeles County coroner ruled.
The verdict followed about nine hours of jury deliberations, which began Friday morning in the downtown Los Angeles County courthouse.
Fans gathered outside of the courthouse ahead of the verdict with signs of support for Jackson including one banner that read, “We miss Michael.” The crowd began celebrating once word of the guilty verdict reached them, chanting “Rest in peace.” Passing cars honked their horns.
The seven men and five women on the jury heard 49 witnesses over 23 days, including Murray’s girlfriends and patients, Jackson’s former employees, investigators and medical experts for each side.
The prosecution, in closing arguments on Thursday, argued that Murray was responsible for Jackson’s death because his reckless use of propofol to treat the pop icon’s insomnia in his home was criminally negligent.
Defense lawyers contended the matter was a negligence case that should instead be heard by the state medical board.
“If it were anybody else but Michael Jackson, would this doctor be here today?” lead defense lawyer Ed Chernoff asked in his closing.
Jurors were left to decide if the propofol overdose was infused into Jackson’s blood by a steady intravenous drip, as the prosecution contended, or if Jackson injected himself using a syringe left nearby by Murray, as the defense argued.
“He was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond,” Chernoff said, pointing the finger at other doctors who treated Jackson, and Jackson himself.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren attacked the defense for trying to blame “everybody but Conrad Murray, poor Conrad Murray.”
“If allowed more time to argue, I am sure they would find a way to blame Michael’s son, Prince,” Walgren said in his closing rebuttal.
Walgren painted Murray as a selfish doctor who agreed to take $150,000 a month to give Jackson nightly infusions of propofol in his home, something prosecutors argued an ethical doctor would never do because of the dangers.
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