Michael Jackson Verdict: Conrad Murray Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter, Remanded Without Bail

Cardiologist faces anywhere from probation to four years behind bars

By Natalie Finn Nov 07, 2011 9:53 PMTags

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

After six weeks start to finish, Conrad Murray, who worked as the singer's personal physician during the final months of his life, was found guilty on one count of involuntary manslaughter.

The seven-man, five-woman panel deliberated for less than two days—approximately 10 hours and seven minutes, in fact—before coming back with the verdict, which was read into the record at 1:17 p.m. as fans and press amassed outside the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Murray walked into the courtroom at 1:07 p.m., seven minutes after the verdict was initially scheduled to be read—two hours after the media were given a heads-up.

As the verdict was read, neither the physician nor his defense team showed much emotion—or surprise.

In a somewhat unexpected move given that he has no prior criminal record, Murray was remanded into custody without bail pending sentencing on Nov. 29.

"Michael's spirit will be with us in the court room and he will make sure the right verdict is made," sister La Toya Jackson tweeted after learning the jury was ready.

With La Toya were mom Katherine and dad Joe, who checked into a nearby hotel last Friday to be prepared for this moment, as well as sister Rebbie and brothers Randy and Jermaine. Longtime Jackson friends Rick and Kathy Hilton were also in court. Janet Jackson is currently in Australia, though she canceled a show last night due to vocal stress.

"Yes," a smiling Jermaine said to E! News on his way put of the courthouse when asked if he was happy with the verdict. La Toya also said she was "very happy."

The crowd outside the courthouse erupted in cheers upon learning the news.

Murray faces up to four years in state prison and the loss of his medical license, though he may do significantly less time: A recent rule adopted in the state of California could result in the cardiologist being sent to an L.A. County jail, where he would almost certainly spend only a portion of his sentence behind bars.

Nine of the jurors had previous experience, including one woman who had served on five juries—all of which reached verdicts—and had once served as a jury forewoman. While certain details about their occupations, educations, ages and ethnicities were culled from the lengthy questionnaires they filled out at the beginning of the selection process, even the attorneys on both sides only knew the jurors by identification numbers.

The panel did not ask questions about evidence or ask for any testimony to be read back to them during deliberations, an indicator some saw that they had arrived fairly easily at a guilty verdict.

Despite the defense's best efforts to poke holes in the prosecution's case, Deputy District Attorney David Walgren and his team convinced the jury that Murray was negligent in his treatment of Jackson.

"This is criminal gross negligence," Walgren said in his closing argument rebuttal Friday. "This is bizarre,unethical behavior. This is why we are here."

The offense was buoyed from testimony by Jackson employees who witnessed the panicked scene in the pop star's room when he stopped breathing, the detectives and forensics experts who led the investigation and, perhaps most poignantly, from anesthesiologist Dr. Steve Shafer.

Shafer testified that he found 17 areas in which Murray violated medical protocol and ethics, from Murray's inexplicable decision to treat Jackson's insomnia with the anesthetic propofol to his lifesaving attempts in Jackson's final moments.

Overall, the prosecution's witnesses agreed that it was highly illogical (or "zero chance," as Shafer said) to suspect that a drug-addicted Jackson either swallowed propofol—a suggestion the defense abandoned early on—or somehow administered it to himself while heavily sedated by lorazepam.

During his closing argument, Murray's lead attorney, Ed Chernoff, implored the jury not to punish his client solely because the deceased was Jackson.

"You may think Dr. Murray is a sinner. You may think he is a saint," Chernoff said. "All he cared about was the safety of Michael Jackson. The first thing he is going to is try to revive him."

"If you're going to hold Dr. Murray responsible, don't do it because it's Michael Jackson. This isn't a reality show. This is reality. This affects real human beings. I hope you find Dr. Murray not guilty."

No such luck.

(Originally published Nov. 7, 2011, at 1:18 p.m. PT)