Jury reconvenes in Dr Conrad Murray trial

2011-11-07 11:02

Los Angeles – The jury in the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, reconvenes today to try to decide his fate after failing to reach a verdict on a first day of deliberations last week.

The seven men and five women will gather to continue debating whether the 58-year-old medic is guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the King of Pop’s death on June 25 2009.

Murray faces up to four years in jail and could be banned from practising medicine if convicted over Jackson’s death from an overdose of propofol, given to help him sleep and fight chronic insomnia at his home in Los Angeles.

The jury deliberated for more than six hours Friday – the end of the sixth week of the trial – but failed to agree a verdict on the sole charge of involuntary manslaughter against Murray.

Since its opening on September 27, the trial at LA’s Superior Court has heard from from 49 witnesses – 33 for the prosecution and 16 for the defence.

In his closing arguments last Thursday, Deputy District Attorney David 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.

He alleged that Murray above all wanted to protect his $150 000 (R1 179 928) a month salary for looking after Jackson, describing how the doctor agreed to treat the star’s insomnia with the anesthetic propofol against all medical advice.

“Conrad Murray in multiple instances deceived, lied, obscured, but more importantly, Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence,” the prosecutor told the jury.

The defence, meanwhile, has 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.

Defence 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.

The jury – including six white jurors, five Hispanics, and one African American, and ranging from 32 to 57 years old – asked no questions Friday, as they are allowed to do via messages from their closed door deliberations.

Jackson’s sister La Toya voiced her nervousness in a series of tweets. “I’m so shaky right now waiting for a verdict!” she tweeted. “Every little noise has me jumping out of my skin!”

Later, she said she was sure the jurors were taking the task very seriously. “I watched the jurors. They were very focused, paid close attention and took tons of notes!” she said. “I pray they do the right thing.”

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