Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Conrad Murray's legal odyssey is just beginning.
The cardiologist accused of injecting Michael Jackson with a lethal amount of sedatives has been ordered to stand trial on one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor also ordered that Murray's medical license be suspended, effective immediately.
"Circumstances have changed," Pastor said in court this afternoon. "They have changed dramatically. There are extraordinary circumstances that mandate my approving the request of the [California] Medical Board. Overall consideration is the protection of the public. The continued practice by Dr. Murray does pose an imminent danger to the state of California."
Jackson's mother, Katherine, and siblings Janet, La Toya, Jackie, Jermaine, Randy and Marlon all sat in on at least part of the hearing over the past week.
"I'm happy so far," La Toya told reporters as she made her way to her car Tuesday.
"The judge's ruling ordering Dr. Murray to stand trial for the death of Michael Jackson is perfectly appropriate given the testimony in this case," read a statement from Howard Weitzman, attorney for the executors of Jackson's estate, John Branca and John McClain.
The ruling comes after six days of testimony from more than 20 prosecution witnesses, concluding today with two doctors who testified that Murray violated his duties as a medical professional by injecting Jackson with propofol, a surgical-grade anesthetic, and failing to properly monitor him afterward.
Both doctors said that even if Jackson had injected himself with the lethal dose, his death should still be called a homicide based on Murray's actions.
The Houston-based physician has pleaded not guilty to the charge. A conviction would result in the loss of his medical license and a maximum of four years in prison.
Murray's defense team didn't call any witnesses during the hearing, but his lawyers argued that their client did not give Jackson anything that could have killed him and, in fact, was planning to decrease the amount of meds the King of Pop was using.
"What did we hear that [proves] Dr. Murray killed Michael Jackson?" attorney Joseph Low said in his closing statement. "Who is going to tell me what Dr. Murray did to Michael Jackson before he died? A 25-milliliter [dose] of Propofol in a 20-minute push is not enough to kill a man."
"On the day he is trying to ween Michael Jackson off propofol, the doses (levels) go off the roof?" Low continued. "That defies common sense."
Members of Jackson's staff and paramedics who responded to the 911 call and transported a seemingly lifeless Jackson to UCLA Medical Center described a chaotic scene at the singer's rented Holmby Hills mansion on June 25, 2009. Bodyguard Alberto Alvarez testified that Jackson's oldest children, Prince and Paris, ran up to their dad's bedroom and saw him lying unconscious.
"Michael Jackson is gone. Michael's kids do not have a father because of Dr. Murray," Assistant District Attorney David Walgren said in his closing remarks. "Michael is not here because of the utterly inept actions of defendant Dr. Murray."
Pastor denied Walgren's request that bail be increased from $75,000 to $300,000. He scheduled arraignment for Jan. 25 at 8:30 a.m.