Michael Jackson's dead body shown in shocking image at Dr Conrad Murray's trial
Published 28/09/2011 | 05:00
THE jury in the trial of the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson was shown a shocking photograph yesterday of the singer lying dead on a hospital trolley.
The jurors were also played a tape of Jackson's voice, recorded the month before he died, in which he slurred his words, mumbled and appeared to be heavily sedated.
The disturbing evidence was produced by prosecutors as Dr Conrad Murray (58), the singer's personal physician, went on trial more than two years after Jackson's death.
Dr Murray, who denies a charge of involuntary man- slaughter, was accused of "gross negligence, medical abandonment and repeated incompetence".
Prosecutors accused him of being interested not in Jackson's health, but a "$150,000-a-month contract" he had for looking after the entertainer.
Ed Chernoff, the doctor's lawyer, later told the court that Jackson had caused his own death by self-administering propofol, an anaesthetic meant for use only in hospitals, and had already swallowed enough lorazepam sleeping pills to put six people to sleep.
Mr Chernoff said that created a "perfect storm" in Jackson's body that killed him instantly.
The lawyer said the singer had taken the medication himself because he was "frustrated" that Dr Murray would not give him the drugs he wanted.
"He died so rapidly, so instantly he didn't have time to close his eyes," he said.
Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication", the court was told.
In the 80 days before his death on June 25, 2009, Dr Murray ordered more than four gallons of the anaesthetic -- a "massive" amount.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren showed jurors the slide of Jackson's pale dead body wrapped in a white sheet. It was stamped "homicide".
He contrasted it with a photograph taken the day before in which Jackson was seen rehearsing. "What happened during that timeframe is that the acts and omissions of Michael Jackson's doctor directly led to his premature death at age 50," said Mr Walgren.
The court then heard a recording of Jackson's voice, apparently recorded by Dr Murray on his iPhone on May 10, 2009. The prosecution claimed it showed Jackson was "heavily under the influence" and Dr Murray was aware of that.
Mr Jackson's parents, Joe and Katherine, his sisters, Janet and La Toya, and other family members were in court yesterday while, outside, dozens of fans held sunflowers, pictures of the dead pop star, and placards saying "Justice for Michael".
Jurors are expected to hear testimony from paramedics, medical experts, Jackson's choreographer and Dr Murray's girlfriends.