Michael Jackson's physician appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday where he pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the pop singer's death, capping an eight-month investigation and kicking off what is expected to be a closely watched celebrity trial.
After a lengthy investigation, Los Angeles prosecutors charged the Houston-based cardiologist with allegedly administering a lethal cocktail of painkillers and anesthetics to the entertainer hours before he died on June 25.
Involuntary manslaughter carries the shortest sentence of any homicide charge in California. If convicted, Murray faces up to four years in prison.
An investigator's narrative released Monday by the L.A. County's coroner's office included new details of the June evening Jackson's body was found. Jackson's bedroom is described as outfitted with the usual furnishings: a queen-sized bed, chairs, a dresser and a television.
There was also "a green oxygen tank" beside the bed and bottles of prescription medication scattered over several tables, along with medical supplies such as latex gloves, a box of catheters, disposable needles and alcohol pads.
The 51-page coroner's report also described Jackson's vitiligo, the pigmentation-lightening disease the singer was said to have suffered with. His skin had "patches of light and dark pigmented area. His hair "was sparse" and woven into a wig. His lips and eyebrows had been permanently tattooed.
The autopsy report concludes that "the cause of death is acute propofol intoxication" and that "the standard care for administering propofol was not met ... Recommended equipment for patient monitoring, precision dosing, and resuscitation were not present."
Murray appeared in court Monday in a gray suit. Seated behind the prosecution were several of Jackson's family members including his father Joe, mother Katherine, and sibling Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Randy and LaToya.
A judge set bail at $75,000 and Murray was ordered to stop administering sedatives in his medical practice.
"I don't want you sedating people," Judge Keith Schwartz told Murray who will be permitted to continue practicing cardiology and write some prescriptions.
A large contingent of reporters and camera crews dwarfed the cadre of fans who ringed the courthouse, some of whom carried signs calling for "Justice for Michael Jackson."
One fan carried a sign that read: "No special treatment for Conrad 'Murderer.'"
The charges come after weeks of negotiations between prosecutors and Murray's lawyers about when and where the doctor would make himself available to be indicted.
Murray, 56, has been in Los Angeles for the past two weeks, meeting with his defense team and waiting for the District Attorney to formally charge him.
Following an autopsy and the release of a much-anticipated toxicology report last fall, investigators concluded that Murray administered to Jackson, 50, the powerful anesthetic propofol and mixture of other sedatives that led to his death.
"Murray did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson…in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; and in the commission of a lawful act which might have produced death, in an unlawful manner, and without due caution and circumspection," prosecutors said in a statement.