Michael Jackson's Doctor Gets Four-Year Sentence

Nov 29, 2011
Originally published on November 29, 2011 4:46 pm

The doctor found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson was just sentenced to four years in prison.

In imposing the sentence, Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Jackson died "because of the actions of and the failures to perform legal duties" on the part of Dr. Conrad Murray. The physician, Pastor said, betrayed his patient and his profession. And Murray, the judge added, tried to "blame the victim" — Jackson — and has shown no remorse.

As NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates has reported:

Throughout the trial, "Deputy District Attorney David Walgren kept telling jurors [that] Dr. Murray's gross negligence was a central contributing factor to the pop icon's death. Walgren said administering the powerful anesthetic propofol in a home setting was reckless and inexcusable — especially since, Walgren said, Dr. Murray had none of the proper backup in case Jackson stopped breathing, a common propofol side-effect. ...

"The doctor insisted he used small amounts of propofol to help end an increasingly desperate Jackson's insomnia — a use the drug isn't approved for. But that was countered with evidence that he'd ordered vats of the stuff delivered to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend — and a parade of doctors, including a key witness for the defense, who all said they would never use propofol at home."

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. Video Of The Sentencing:

This Associated Press video highlights some of the judge's comments during the sentencing.

Update at 1 p.m. ET: The prosecution had asked for the judge to order Murray to pay more than $101 million in restitution — much of it based on the potential earning power of the concert tour the singer was rehearsing for in 2009. Pastor said he needs more time and information before setting any amount. According to The Associated Press, "it's unlikely that Murray can pay any sizable sum."

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