Michael Jackson Would 'Absolutely' Be Alive If Not for Conrad Murray, Juror Says

Juror says Conrad Murray 'absolutely' played a role in Michael Jackson's death.

ByJim Avila, Kaitlyn Folmer and Katie Kindelan
November 09, 2011, 6:35 AM

Nov. 9, 2011 -- Nearly all the 12 jurors chosen to decide the fate of Dr. Conrad Murray in the trial over the death of Michael Jackson had decided on his guilt the first day of deliberations, the first juror in the case to speak out exclusively tells ABC News.

Debbie Franklin, a 48-year-old mother of two from Temple City, Calif., was the juror who, on Monday, rung the buzzer three times in the Los Angeles courtroom where Murray had sat on trial for the past six weeks to alert the judge and the world that a verdict had been reached.

"Our hearts were pounding to go out there," Franklin told "Good Morning America," of the moment she and the other jurors emerged from eight hours of deliberations to issue a guilty verdict for Murray that could send him to prison for up to four years.

The jury convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 drug-overdose death of the King of Pop. Prosecutors alleged that Murray supplied an insomnia-plagued Jackson with the powerful operating-room anesthetic propofol to help him sleep as he rehearsed for his "This Is It" comeback tour.

Franklin says she and the other jurors believe Jackson, who was 50, would "absolutely" be alive today if not for Murray.

"Conrad Murray did it," she said. "Conrad Murray agreed to be the one to go into the bedroom and do this. He [Jackson] was looking for somebody to say yes, and Conrad Murray said yes."

Prosecutors portrayed Murray, 58, as a negligent doctor who gave the singer what he wanted, the drug propofol, at home in Jackson's bedroom without the necessary safeguards and care when things went wrong.

"I thought they did an excellent job," Franklin said of the prosecution. "They were ready for every witness. The questioning went from beginning to end. Nothing seemed to sidetrack them."

Franklin says there were three factors presented in the trial that led the jury to a guilty verdict for Murray.

"The three biggest things for us were the 911 call, not calling 911. That was a big issue, and not having the medical equipment in the room to put somebody under sedation and leaving the room," she said.

While the jury was nearly unanimous from the trial's start that Murray played a role in Jackson's death, not everyone was convinced the doctor was solely responsible, Franklin said.

Murray, who did not testify in his trial, told police that he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died. His lawyers blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer injected himself with an ultimately lethal dose of the drug while Murray was out of the room.

"Even if Michael Jackson injected himself, which I don't think we believed, but, we felt, even if he did, that wouldn't have mattered because Conrad Murray brought the situation there," she said. "He was the doctor. He was in charge."

Jackson's behavior was barely a consideration, despite the fact that Franklin believes "he had a lot of issues... I believe he had addictions or dependence."

But the argument that the pop singer's addiction led to his own death was not enough to sway Franklin, or the other jurors.

"I really think they didn't have a lot to work with," she said of Murray's defense team. "They tried to do what they could with what they had."

Although the jury came to a verdict fairly quickly, it was not easy for the seven men and five women.

"We took a vote and it was not unanimous, so we said let's think about it over the weekend and talk about it on Monday," she said of the jury's first day of deliberations on Friday. "It was stressful. It was a lot of work. Yelling, everybody was talking."

Juror in Michael Jackson's Death Case Has No Sympathy for Conrad Murray

Franklin says the jury was more easily able to reach a guilty verdict for Murray because of the decision by the prosecution to charge the doctor with involuntary manslaughter, not murder.

The jury was asked to determine only whether Murray was primarily responsible for the singer's death, not whether Murray actually gave Jackson the fatal dose.

"We absolutely agree that he did not mean to do this," Franklin said. "We don't think he even had a motive to do this. We think it was something that he was doing that was careless that got out of hand."

Immediately after Monday's verdict was delivered, Murray was handcuffed and led off to jail without bail to await sentencing Nov. 29.

"I never gave it a second thought," Franklin said of the court's decision to take Murray away in handcuffs. "It didn't bother me."

Murray now faces as many as four years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 29. The lightest sentence he could receive is probation, since Murray is a defendant with no prior criminal record, a factor that Judge Michael Pastor will be taking into account. Because of jail overcrowding, Murray may spend little or no time in jail despite whatever sentence Pastor metes out.

"I'm glad I don't have to make that decision," Franklin said. "I really have no feeling one way or the other what the sentence is. We did our job."

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