Paramedic on stand in Jackson case
Published 30/04/2013 | 19:46
A paramedic has become the first witness to testify in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in the United States by Michael Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live.
Paramedic Richard Senneff took the witness stand in the packed courtroom. He had attempted to revive the pop star after becoming one of the first people to respond to his home in 2009.
Mr Senneff testified twice in previous criminal proceedings against Conrad Murray, the former physician who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.
Jackson's mother Katherine left the courtroom during the testimony. She is suing AEG, claiming it failed to properly investigate Murray before allowing him to serve as her son's tour doctor. AEG has denied any wrongdoing.
During opening statements on Monday, jurors given a brief tour of Jackson's life through photos of him with his children and videos of his performances. While Jackson's song You Are My Life filled the courtroom, jurors watched footage of a Christmas morning when he gave his children a dog.
Jackson's troubles were also on prominent display, with lawyers describing his financial troubles and his struggles with prescription drug abuse. They read emails describing the singer as unhealthy and in need of a serious intervention.
A defence lawyer for AEG Live at one point flashed a slide listing 45 medical professionals. He said Jackson had consulted with each of them over the years and requested doses of the powerful anaesthetic propofol from some. Jackson died in June 2009 from an overdose of propofol. At the start of his testimony, the jury was transported by Mr Senneff into Jackson's bedroom - a place the singer kept locked and where his propofol treatments were administered out of sight of everyone but Murray.
Mr Senneff, a paramedic and firefighter for nearly 28 years, told the panel about responding to Jackson's bedroom on June 25, 2009 and finding an unusual scene. He described Murray's frazzled efforts to revive Jackson. "He was pale, he was sweaty," the paramedic said of Murray. "He was very busy."
He said Jackson appeared to be terminally ill. "To me, he looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process," he said, adding that Murray told him he was treating Jackson for dehydration.
Mr Senneff told the panel he found an IV pole, oxygen tanks and a nightstand with several medicine bottles. Just as he has previously testified in Murray's criminal trial, the paramedic told the panel that Murray never mentioned propofol. Jackson's blue hands, feet and lips, and the singer's dry eyes, all signalled to Mr Senneff that the singer was dead and had not been breathing for a long time, he told the jury.