Autopsy doctor doubts Jackson caused his own death

2011-10-12 09:37

Los Angeles – Michael Jackson probably did not give himself the powerful anesthetic propofol that caused his death in 2009, the doctor who performed the singer’s autopsy testified yesterday.

Dr Christopher Rogers told jurors in the manslaughter trial of Dr Conrad Murray that he determined Jackson’s death was a homicide.

Murray has denied involuntary manslaughter but has admitted giving Jackson the anesthetic used for surgery as a sleep aid.

However, his attorneys have claimed that Jackson caused his own death by giving himself an extra dose when Murray was out of the singer’s bedroom on June 25 2009.

“The circumstances from my point of view do not support self-administration of propofol,’’ Rogers said.

Rogers said he did not believe Jackson would have had time to give himself the anesthetic and stop breathing in the two minutes that Murray told police he was out of the room.

But under cross-examination, Rogers acknowledged the amount of propofol present in Jackson’s blood was too high to have been caused by the relatively small infusion of 25mg that Murray told police he gave the pop star.

Rogers admitted under questioning by the defence that Jackson, while laying in bed, could have reached an injection site just below the knee, where drugs were administered to him through an IV line.

Problem with sleeping
Prosecutors have argued that Murray likely followed up his infusion of propofol with a continuous drip of the drug supplied through an IV system, a contention disputed by Murray’s attorneys.

Rogers, the Los Angeles County chief of forensic medicine, said a lack of precise dosing equipment in the singer’s bedroom meant it would have been easy for Murray to incorrectly estimate how much propofol he had given to the singer.

“The problem that Mr Jackson was having was that he couldn’t sleep, and it’s not appropriate to administer propofol in that situation. The risk outweighs the benefit,’’ Rogers said.

Witnesses and phone records have shown that Murray was on the phone or writing email for more than 45 minutes before prosecutors believe he found Jackson’s lifeless body, and an ambulance was called.

In a dramatic day as the third week of the trial got under way, jurors were shown a photo of Jackson’s thin, naked body on the autopsy table.

Some fans in the Los Angeles courtroom sobbed quietly, while one walked out, overcome with emotion. Jackson’s family excused themselves before the autopsy evidence was presented.

Earlier, the jury heard Murray tell police in a taped interview about the traumatic hours at the hospital where Jackson (50) was officially pronounced dead.

Murray told police that the singer’s mother, Katherine, broke down in tears when she was told Jackson had died, and the pop star’s daughter, Paris, said she did not want to be an orphan.

“I stayed there, I hugged them all, gave them all comfort,’’ Murray said of the children.

Paris Jackson, then age 11, said: “I know you tried your best, but I’m really sad. You know, I will wake up in the morning and I won’t be able to see my daddy.”

“She cried and was very stark,’’ Murray recalled.

Murray could face up to four years in prison if convicted. 

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