Day 2: Jury Deliberates Fate of Michael Jackson’s Doctor
The jurors deliberated for about six hours on Friday before taking the weekend off and re-convening today at the Los Angeles County courthouse.
Murray could face up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if he is convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecution argues that Murray’s reckless use of the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol to help with Jackson’s insomnia led to the singer’s death, while the defense contends that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose while Murray was out of the room.
The five women and seven men on the jury include an actor, director and carton animator. Five of them have said they enjoy watching TV crimes shows.
In the jury room, they have a coffee maker and nearly 400 pieces of evidence to consider. The jurors also have a buzzer system for communicating with the judge. Two buzzes means the jurors are requesting a break or have a question. Three buzzes signals a verdict.
Judge Michael Pastor told the jury that in order to acquit Murray of involuntary manslaughter, they must find that Jackson’s death was caused by an accident and not reckless behavior.
For the jurors to find Murray guilty, they must unanimously determine that he committed a lawful act with criminal negligence or failed to perform a legal duty with criminal negligence.
“This is not a ‘who done it?’ This is a ‘how did it happen?’” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said today on “Good Morning America.” “This is a more complicated case. A lot of the facts are not in dispute here. And so it becomes an interpretation of what to make of those facts.”
Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense both delivered impassioned closing arguments in court last week.
Prosecutor David Walgren painted a picture of a Murray as a money-hungry and reckless physician who betrayed Jackson’s trust as a patient by putting his own needs ahead of Jackson’s.
“Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray. He trusted him with his life,” Walgren said. “He trusted him with his own individual life and the future lives of his children, trusting that Conrad Murray, as he slept, would care for him so that in the morning he would awake to share a meal with his children.”
Walgren played at the jury’s heartstrings by telling the court that Jackson’s children were left crying in despair and will grow up without their father because of Murray’s “gross criminal negligence.”
The defense countered by portraying Murray as a victim of Jackson’s fame who was brought into a situation that was out of his control.
“They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson,” defense attorney Edward Chernoff said.
“He got brought into this situation because he thought he could help,” Chernoff said. “He was wrong — because Dr. Murray had no control over this situation. He was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond.”
Over the six weeks of the trial, jurors listened to 49 witnesses over 22 days of testimony. Murray did not testify.