With Jackson family members Joe, Katherine, La Toya and Germaine inside the courtroom and hundreds of fans outside the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, a court clerk announced that jurors have concluded Dr. Conrad Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Murray was charged with manslaughter after Jackson was essentially found dead at his Holmby Hills residence on June 25, 2009. (Paramedics were called, and he was taken to UCLA Medical Center — where he was officially pronounced — but doctors who treated him that day testified that they believed he had been dead for some time).
Prosecutors argued that Murray, who had financial troubles, was willing to do whatever it takes to make Jackson happy and, on that day, administered an overdose of the powerful sedative propofol to the King of Pop.
Prosecutors, and their experts, argued that propofol was not a drug that doctors would normally administer outside medical facilities and hospitals.
Murray's defense argued that Jackson administered the drug to himself as the doctor wasn't looking. Dr. Paul White, the “father of propofol,” testified for the defense, saying that it was possible that Jackson could have given himself the drug.
Jackson is said to have requested the drug so he could get sleep as he prepared at home and at Staples Center for an upcoming series of London concerts.
Murray was looking at a $150,000-a-month payday for taking care of Jackson before and during the performances in London.
The crowd outside the downtown Superior Court building grew boisterous as some chanted and others held up “Justice For Michael” signs as police kept people behind crime scene tape.
The court clerk read the verdict about 1:21 p.m. Monday. Murray, who will be sentenced at a later date, faces as many as four years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
It took the jury, made of up 7 men and 5 women, about 8 and a half hours to reach the decision.
[Added at 1:21 p.m.]: Judge Michael Pastor ordered that Murray be remanded to incarceration at least until his sentencing Nov. 29. Bailiffs quickly cuffed the doctor.
The judge compared Murray's crime to “homicide” and stated:
Dr. Murray's reckless conduct in this case poses a demonstrable risk to the safety of the public.
Celebrations broke out on the streets outside the courtroom. “Victory for Michael after two years,” one fan told ABC7.
[Our take]: Please Jackson fans, don't moon walk on us or aim any hee-hee-hee violence our way, but we think that juries these days increasingly rule based on factors other than reasonable doubt.
Does anyone doubt that the King of Pop was a drug addict and sought medical care from those who would fee his need? Was there reasonable doubt in this case? There was. The defense raised the possibility that Jackson could have given himself the fatal dose of propofol.
Do we believe that? No.
But here's the thing: If there's any reasonable doubt, jurors are supposed to favor the defense. Even if there is the slightest reasonable doubt. The only two people who knew what really happened that day were Murray and Jackson.
Is Murray a bad doctor? Yes. But did he kill somebody?
In the case, it seems, jurors just didn't like the guy. Was Murray a douche doctor and yes man who gave Jackson what he wanted? Probably. But that's just a gut feeling.
You're not supposed to convict people on gut feelings.
[Added at 3:02 p.m.]: District Attorney Steve Cooley was happy about the verdict but, according to KNX 1070 Newsradio, warned that he felt that prison overcrowding would mean there's no way Murray will see four years behind bars.
City News Service summed up and quoted Cooley this way:
The district attorney noted that recent state legislation that calls for inmates in “so-called non-violent, non-serious, non sex offenses'' cases to serve their sentences in county jail instead of state prison will “eliminate the potential for a traditional state prison sentence in state prison in this case.''
[Added at 4:20 p.m.]: Associated Press looked at the background of the jurors. There was only one African American on the panel:
–Hispanic man, 51, from Whittier. A U.S. Postal Service supervisor who oversees 30 people and has some college education. Believes celebrities bend the rules and feel they can act as they please. Considers himself a fan of Jackson's music. First-time juror. Has five children, five grandchildren.
–White woman, 57, born in Spain, lives in Alhambra. Account manager who supervises others and has some college. Watches “CSI” and followed the O.J. Simpson case on TV. Has been on five juries and was once a forewoman. All those juries reached verdicts. Believes celebrities feel they can act as they please. Not a fan of Jackson. Divorced, with two children, two grandchildren.
–White man, 45, management consultant from West Los Angeles with an MBA. Was a classical musician. Watches “Law and Order,” follows radio and TV news, visits a few Internet sites and has seen “This Is It” but is not a Jackson fan. Was on two previous juries that reached verdicts. Wife is a pediatric nurse. Two children.
–White man, 32, actor and part-time bookseller from Eagle Rock. Some college. Studied philosophy and theater. Watched the O.J. Simpson trial in school as an educational experience. Believes celebrities get away with crimes because of their status. Was a Jackson fan as a child and owns the “Bad,” ''Thriller” and “Dangerous” albums. Thinks Jackson was probably a good person. Was juror on a civil trial.
–White woman, 48, paralegal from Temple City. High school graduate. Watched the Casey Anthony case occasionally. Feels celebrities get off because the system can't afford security for them in jail. Not a Jackson fan. First-time juror. Married with two grown children.
–Hispanic male, 39, from Tujunga. Bachelor's degree in sociology. Works in product management. Listens to Howard Stern. Believes celebrities use status to get what they want. A Jackson fan who saw last few minutes of “This Is It” on TV. Served on one civil jury. Married with two children.
–Hispanic woman, 54, from San Gabriel Valley. High school graduate and office manager at husband's moving van business. Said the Casey Anthony case showed a jury that saw evidence differently than the public majority. Was juror on two civil cases that ended with verdicts. Watches Fox News, listens to talk radio. Not a Jackson fan but loved his music as a young girl. Has four grown children.
–Hispanic man, 52, from Lynwood. School bus driver with some college. One prior jury experience. Believes celebrities get away with crimes because of their status. Not a Jackson fan but thinks he was a good artist. Spouse is mail carrier. Four children and one stepchild.
–Black man, 54, from North Hollywood. TV technical director with associate's degree in TV production. Watches “Forensic Files” and “American Justice.” Served on three juries. Was a Jackson Five fan as a kid, now more of a Jay-Z fan. Says celebrities don't excite him and he's only interested in justice. Single. No children.
–White woman, 43. Born in England, lives in Monrovia. Bachelor's degree in biochemistry and medical laboratory sciences. Works in international medical marketing. Watches “NCIS.” Served on jury in England. Not a Jackson fan but bought the “Thriller” CD. Thinks celebrities sometimes bend the rules. Married with two young children.
–Hispanic woman, 36, from Whittier. Workers compensation service representative. Some college. Followed the Casey Anthony case because it involved a child. Wounded in a drive-by shooting in 1993. Once served on jury that reached a verdict. Single with two children, lives with boyfriend who has three kids.
–White male, 54, from Altadena. College professor who was a supervising animator creating characters for motion pictures at Disney and elsewhere. Had brief interactions with Jackson at Disney when the star was making “Captain EO” film. Thinks Jackson was gifted performer. No prior jury service. Followed the O.J. Simpson case, asks “Who didn't?”