After the weekend break, extended by a further day because of the US Columbus Day holiday, the court heard the rest of Conrad Murray’s statement to the police, on June 27th 2009.
Murray spoke of the assistance he had given to Katherine Jackson after she heard of Michael’s death, and the consolation he gave to Michael’s children, when they were told that their father had died. He, Frank Dileo and Michael Amir together with Social Workers had told the children of their father’s death, and he spoke of their grief, and the tears they shed. Paris asked if they could see their father, and after speaking to the Hospital Psychologists, it was decided that would be possible.
The family, together with the children, viewed Michael’s body, but Katherine declined. Jermaine, La Toya and others asked why he had died, and Murray said he didn’t know but that he had recommended an autopsy. He even helped Jermaine and Randy Phillips to prepare a Press Release, asking the media to respect the family’s privacy.
Murray told police that even though Jesse Jackson had said that Murray should have stayed longer at the hospital to help the family, he had thought he could do no more. He had given the detectives his contact phone numbers, but later when a detective tried to reach him, the calls went straight to Voicemail, as the phone appeared to be switched off.
Murray went on to speak about any pre-existing medical conditions Michael had, such as pneumonia in 2007/8, a fractured toe in 2008, a chest infection in 2008, and said that Michael ate very little, only some chicken and a little rice. He reported other minor ailments, and spoke of Michael seeing Arnold Klein three times a week, even asking his office to “squeeze him in”, but didn’t tell Murray why. He also saw medications in Michael’s room which had been prescribed by Klein. He said that he was told that Michael’s worst days were after he had been to see Klein. The medications in the room were generally safe, especially those he had prescribed. He also spoke of an eye condition, but did not elaborate on the cause.
He denied that Michael used marijuana or cigarettes, which were found in an old suitcase in Michael’s room and handed to the authorities by members of Michael’s family. Michael did however, use excessive amounts of cologne!
He listed Michael’s other doctors as Dr Lee in California, David Adams in Las Vegas, Arnold Klein in Beverley Hills and Dr Metzger in Beverley Hills.
He also spoke about that final night, saying that he had put the syringe used for various medications into a bag, which was left in a closet in the dressing room area, high up at the top.
The audio concluded at this point.
Mr Walgren (prosecution) asked Detective Smith if the tape was accurate, to which he replied “Yes.” He confirmed Murray mentioned Propofol in this interview; however during his brief interview at the hospital, on the day of Michael’s death, Murray ONLY mentioned a sedative, and did not refer to Propofol. Murray never mentioned any of the phone calls either.
He also asked if Detective Smith had used any tactics during the questioning of Murray, and had he interrogated him? Was there any mention of phone calls he had made? Had he heard of Sade Anding?
The detective answered “No” to these questions. He also said that Murray and Chernoff were very surprised that three bags in the dressing room closet, had not been found. Murray’s eyes got bigger and wider when he heard that, he said. Detective Smith went to the empty house on June 26th and discovered the bags. Detective Lisa Sanchez found more empty pill bottles and business cards of Conrad Murray and David Adams, an anaesthesiologist, in the vanity unit of the master bathroom.
Smith also spoke about search warrants being executed on June 29th in the house, and in the tow yard for Murray’s car, where they found the Conrad Murray/AEG Contract in the door pocket. Other search warrants were executed in Murray’s Houston, Texas offices, a storage unit in Houston, his home and office in Las Vegas, but no Propofol was found anywhere. However, they did find the invoices and shipment notices of Propofol to Nicole Alvarez’s house, in Los Angeles. When that house was searched on August 13th 2009 they found no Propofol.
Next, the Pathologist who performed Michael’s autopsy was called to the stand, to give his evidence. Dr Christopher Rogers, a quietly spoken man with impressive qualifications has performed thousands of autopsies.
His first testimony covered the state of Michael’s body after he died. There was no evidence of trauma and no obvious cause of death. He was healthier than most other men of his age. He had an enlarged Prostate, Vitiligo, a polyp on his colon, and chronic inflammation and scarring on his lungs. His nervous system showed mild diffuse swelling. He had an extra rib, and arthritis. His height was 5 feet nine and he weighed 136 pounds. His body mass index (BMI) was within normal range. A photo of Michael’s body was shown, from the autopsy.
His organs showed no heart disease, and no abnormalities, and his arteries had no build up of fat or cholesterol, which was unusual for a man of his age. There was no indication of any natural disease which would explain his cause of death. He described each of Michael’s internal organs, and when he got to the oesophagus (gullet) he was asked if it was intact, to which he answered “Yes.” He was asked if there was a milky white liquid in the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach, to which he replied “No!” He testified that no pills or tablets were found in Michael’s stomach.
Dr. Rogers said it is unreasonable to believe Michael could have given himself a fatal dose of the powerful anaesthetic Propofol. He testified it was more likely that Dr. Conrad Murray overdosed Michael, when he incorrectly estimated how much of the drug he was giving him to induce sleep.
“The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self-administration of Propofol,” said Rogers, who is chief of forensic medicine in the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Doctor Rogers said he examined evidence found in Michael’s bedroom and noted there was an empty 100 millilitre bottle of Propofol.
The cause of death was, “acute Propofol intoxication and the contributing condition was the benzodiazepine effect.”
Two sedatives from that drug group, lorazepam and midazolam, were found in Michael’s system after he died. Doctor Rogers considered a number of factors in ruling the death a homicide. Among them were Murray’s statements to police and the lack of sophisticated medical equipment in Michael’s bedroom, where he had been receiving the anaesthetic. He said there was no EKG monitor, no resuscitation equipment and no precision dosage device present in the room.
Dr.Rogers also testified that it is inappropriate to use Propofol outside a hospital or medical clinic.
Mr Flanagan cross-examined for the Defense, and a long and somewhat technical exchange followed, with questions of a specialist pharmaceutical nature being asked and answered, where possible.
He referred Dr Rogers to various medical texts to try to prove that Murray did not give the incorrect dosages to Michael, who must have taken them himself. Mr Walgren re-cross examined, then Mr Flanagan re-re-crossed, then Mr. Walgren tried again. Most of this evidence was intense and technical, and both attorneys tried hard to make their points.