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Los Angeles District Attorney says recent law changes may prevent Conrad Murray from serving time in state prison.
Moments after a slumped Dr. Conrad Murray was handcuffed and led to jail, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said the physician would “certainly” lose his license after his conviction Monday for involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop star Michael Jackson.
Conrad Murray Trial: Testimony Timeline, Who's Who, Juror Profiles
Murray was convicted of criminal negligence in Jackson’s 2009 death from an overdose of the sedative propofol.
The case, Cooley said, should serve as a warning to “unscrupulous doctors” who act as enablers to drug-addicted clients, providing prescription drugs in cases that all-too-frequently result in the patient’s death.
“It was a message that this sort of conduct does rise to the level of criminal negligence,” Cooley said in an impromptu post-verdict news conference . “Prescribed medication is the number-one cause of death in the United States this year…and in Los Angeles we see many examples of high profile people succumbing with their lives because of their addictions to prescription medicines.”
Cooley said his office will seek the maximum sentence for Murray, which is four years.
The length of Murray’s sentence is up to Judge Michael Pastor, who spoke sternly and acted swiftly after Monday’s verdict.
However, it is possible that under new rules aimed at easing overcrowding in California prisons, Murray could do less time in jail.
Cooley criticized that process, saying that Murray deserved to do time. “It was a homicide,” Cooley said. "Someone lost their life. Three children lost their time with their father.”
Prosecutors presented more than 30 witnesses to demonstrate that Murray administered the surgical sedative propofol, then failed to properly monitor his 50-year-old patient.
A prosecution expert on the drug told jurors that the King of Pop would be alive today were it not for critical mistakes committed by Murray, including the administration of the drug as a sleep aid at Jackson's rented Holmby Hills mansion.
The case is viewed as a triumph for the District Attorney’s office, which has lost a number of high-profile cases over the years. When Assistant District Attorney David Walgren walked out of the courtroom, the energized staff of the D.A.’s office gave him a standing ovation.
"Our sympathies go out to the Jackson family for their loss,” Walgren said. “Not a pop icon, but a son and a brother."