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Jackson’s Death a Homicide…

Pop star Michael Jackson’s death has been ruled a homicide from an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol and other drugs, and police will refer the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges, officials said on Friday.

The coroner’s ruling fuelled speculation that his doctor may face a criminal charge of manslaughter or worse.

The Los Angeles County Coroner said in a statement that propofol and the sedative lorazepam were the primary drugs responsible for Jackson’s June 25 death at the age of 50.

Other drugs found in the singer’s body were midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine and ephedrine.

Separately, the Los Angeles Police Department said its investigation was continuing but that police were referring the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

Jackson, whose “Thriller” CD remains the best-selling album of all time, died suddenly after suffering cardiac arrest in a rented Los Angeles mansion only weeks before he was to begin a series of comeback concerts.

Houston-based doctor Conrad Murray was hired to care for the singer while he prepared for the concerts, and he was at Jackson’s bedside the day he died. Murray has admitted to police that he administered propofol, which is generally used in surgery, to help Jackson sleep.

In court documents, police have said Murray is the subject of a manslaughter investigation but officials have also looked into care provided to Jackson by other doctors who may have prescribed other drugs to him.

A spokesman for Murray’s lawyer said the attorney had no immediate comment.

POTENT DRUGS COCKTAIL

The list of drugs in Jackson’s system reads like a cocktail of sedatives, painkillers and one stimulant. Midazolam is a sedative similar to propofol, used to make patients drowsy but not unconscious during procedures such as colonoscopies.

Diazepam, the generic version of Valium, is used to calm anxiety, while lidocaine is a painkiller and ephedrine is a stimulant.

The coroner said the complete toxicology report remained sealed at the request of the Los Angeles police and the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

Forensics expert Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, who chairs the Department of Science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is not involved in the case, said that absent the full report, it was difficult to determine whether charges would be filed against Dr. Murray and what those charges would be.

He said prosecutors would be looking at the amount of propofol and other drugs in Jackson’s system, whether errors were made in administering drugs in combination, and whether Murray gave proper dosages or a lethal dosage.

“If he administered a lethal dose of propofol, they could charge him with negligent homicide,” Kobilinsky said.

But for now, police have only said in affidavits obtained to search Murray’s office that he is the subject of an investigation for the lesser charge of manslaughter.

A spokesman for Jackson’s family issued a statement on Friday saying the family commended the actions of the coroner and other law enforcement groups and “looks forward to the day that justice can be served.”

Article from Yahoo! Entertainment


Doctor gave Jackson drug that killed him: CNN

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Michael Jackson’s doctor administered the powerful drug police believed killed the music superstar, CNN quoting a source with knowledge of the investigation reported.

Doctor Conrad Murray has become the focus of the probe into Jackson’s death amid reports that bottles of the potent anesthetic propofol were found at the star’s mansion after his tragic June 25 demise.

A report on CNN’s website did not give further information and a spokeswoman for Murray’s legal team refused to comment. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department also declined to comment.

Jackson’s cause of death has been deferred pending the outcome of toxicology tests following a June 25 post mortem. Those test results could be released later this week.

The report comes just days after federal agents and detectives swooped without warning on Murray’s Houston office, revealing for the first time in a search warrant that Jackson’s death was being treated as possible manslaughter.

Propofol is used in hospitals to induce unconsciousness in patients ahead of major surgery. Experts say it should only be administered by a trained anesthesiologist and there could be no reason for it to be in Jackson’s home.

Lawyers for Murray said in a statement last week the doctor was keen to assist authorities in their investigation and was preparing for a third meeting with police after two earlier interviews.

“The coroner wants to clear up the cause of death, we share that goal,” attorney Ed Chernoff said in a statement.

Murray is currently in Las Vegas, his legal team said, and Chernoff insisted that “based on Dr Murray’s minute-by-minute and item-by-item description of Michael Jackson’s last days, he should not be a target of criminal charges.

“Dr Murray was the last doctor standing when Michael Jackson died and it seems all the fury is directed toward him,” Chernoff said.

“Dr Murray is frustrated by negative and often erroneous media reports, he has to walk around 24-7 with a bodyguard. He can’t operate his practice.”

In the immediate aftermath of Jackson’s death, friends of the singer’s family said the clan had “unanswered questions” regarding Murray.

“They (the family) are suspicious of this doctor and they have real reason to be because any other doctor would say ‘Here’s what happened in the last hour of his life and I was there. I gave him some medicine,'” family friend and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson said.

“(Murray) owes it to the family and to the public to say, ‘These were the last hours of Michael’s life and here’s what happened.’ That’s a reasonable expectation.”


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