Did Jackson kill himself?

2011-01-04 07:25

Los Angeles – Lawyers for Michael Jackson’s personal doctor will argue that he killed himself, prosecutors claimed ahead of a pre-trial hearing today into the pop icon’s death.

The case centres on the role of Dr Conrad Murray, a cardiologist who faces charges of involuntary manslaughter over the June 25 2009 death of the “King of Pop”.

Jackson died at age 50 from drug-induced respiratory arrest.

At the preliminary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor will decide whether there is enough evidence to try Murray (57) on charges of involuntary manslaughter – essentially, a killing done without malice.

Murray is accused of administering a powerful cocktail of sedatives and painkillers to help Jackson sleep, and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A prosecutor claims defence lawyers will say Jackson woke up that fateful night at his Beverly Hills mansion and injected himself with an overdose while Murray was out of the room.

“I do think it’s clear the defence is operating under the theory that the victim, Michael Jackson, killed himself,” said Deputy District Attorney David Walgren at a preliminary hearing last week.

“They don’t want to say it but that’s the direction in which they are going,” he added.

A defence lawyer declined to comment on any theories outside the court.

There is likely to be strong emphasis in the hearing on Murray’s use of propofol, an anaesthetic used in surgery, to treat Jackson’s insomnia. The powerful drug is not approved for home use or to treat sleep disorders.

35 witnesses
A preliminary hearing is usually a routine procedure in which only one or two witnesses are called, but prosecutors are set to call as many as 35 witnesses, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Those summoned are expected to include medical experts and investigators as well as the security guards and staff present in the days and hours leading up to Jackson’s death, it said.

A lawyer for Murray said he expected the judge to order a full trial.

“I don’t anticipate this is the type of case that the (district attorney) won’t have facts to support the couple of elements necessary for this charge,” said Joseph Low.

The pre-trial hearing, which could last up to two weeks, comes after Jackson’s father refiled a wrongful death lawsuit in November against the late singer’s doctor.

The 24-page lawsuit claimed that Murray spent 47 minutes on the phone while Jackson was dying.

Joe Jackson is seeking unspecified damages from Murray and others, including a Las Vegas pharmacy said to have supplied the powerful sedative drug propofol administered to the singer before he died.

The legal papers also recount Jackson’s poor health in the run-up to his death, noting that, at the time the singer was suffering from “co-morbidities including anaemia, chronic pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and brain swelling”.

Jackson’s father had already filed a suit with a federal US court on June 25 last year, the anniversary of his son’s death, but it was dismissed because the court said the case was not within its jurisdiction.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.