(AFP) Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter Monday over the King of Pop’s 2009 death, at an emotional climax to his long-awaited trial.
Crowds of fans outside erupted in joy as the verdict was handed down, while minutes later judge Michael Pastor ordered the 58-year-old medic handcuffed and remanded in custody, pending sentencing later this month.
Supporters of Michael Jackson hold placards awaiting the verdict of his doctor’s trial in Los Angeles on November 7, 2011 in southern California. Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the King of Pop’s 2009 death, the court clerk said. There was a brief cry in the courtroom, and cheers outside, but Murray himself gave no reaction when the long-awaited verdict was announced after a six-week trial in Los Angeles.
Jackson’s mother Katherine was hugged by one of his brothers, Randy, and appeared to cry into a tissue, after the verdict was announced. Others there included his father Joe, and siblings Jermaine, Rebbie and La Toya.
“Justice was served,” Jermaine said as he and the rest of the family braved huge crowds to leave the building, while Rebbie added: “Nothing will bring him back, but I’m happy he was found guilty.”
“Michael loves everybody out here… we all love everybody,” added La Toya to the HLN television channel, adding: “He was in that courtroom and that’s why victory was served.”
A grim-faced Murray himself gave no reaction when the verdict was announced and judge Pastor ordered him remanded in custody because he was a danger to the public.
Murray faces up to four years in jail and could be banned from practicing medicine after his conviction in connection with Jackson’s death from an overdose of propofol on June 25, 2009.
LA District Attorney Steve Cooley praised his deputy David Walgren, who was widely praised for his masterful prosecution of the case against a defense which some observers thought ended the trial in tatters.
“They put together a compelling case based upon competent evidence. Their presentation of the evidence in the court was superb,” Cooley told reporters after the verdict was handed down.
Outside, the verdict was greeted by joy and relief.
“Joy, justice, relief, finally, that’s it,” Jackson fan Terry Wilson told AFP amid celebratory scenes outside the downtown building where the trial began on September 27.
She began crying as she screamed “guilty!’ to the crowd.
“Of course he’s guilty!” added another Jackson fan, J.B. Jones.
Since opening on September 27, the trial at Los Angeles Superior Court has heard from 49 witnesses — 33 for the prosecution, and 16 for the defense.
In his closing arguments last week, Deputy District Attorney Walgren said Murray caused the star’s death through negligence and greed, depriving Jackson’s children of their father and the world of a “genius.”
Walgren, summing up an “overwhelming case” against Murray, claimed the medic concocted lies to cover his tracks — specifically about the timeline on the day Jackson died, and not telling paramedics what drugs he had given.
The defense, meanwhile, argued that Jackson was a desperate drug addict who caused his own death by taking more medicines while Murray was out of the room at the star’s rented mansion in Los Angeles.
Defense attorney Ed Chernoff claimed that Murray was “a little fish in a big dirty pond,” alleging that key witnesses conspired to agree on a story after Jackson died.
Shortly before the verdict announcement, Jackson’s former dermatologist broke his silence to deny the singer was a drug addict, or that he had given him massive doses of painkillers in the months before his death.
“Michael was not a drug addict. .. Michael Jackson did not have a problem with pain killers,” said Dr Arnold Klein, whose office Jackson visited several times a week in the months before his death.
Specifically he denied having treated Jackson with large doses of the painkiller Demerol — 900 mg over three days in one case — during the month of May 2009, as suggested by records from his office shown in evidence in the last week of the trial.
Klein said he was away in Paris for most of the month of May, and other doctors worked from his office.
“I would never give a person those doses attributed to me,” he told the HLN television channel.
“Those doses they said in trial are not my doses,” he added.