Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trial of Conrad Murray

The Verdict

After almost nine hours of deliberations over two days, the jury room buzzer rang three times — signifying that the seven man/five woman jury had reached a unanimous decision in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

Murray cuffed after verdict
Murray cuffed after verdict

The jury found Dr. Conrad Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Murray betrayed no sentiment as his fate was read, but the courtroom was emotional. Despite Judge Michael Pastor's prior warning to the gallery to keep their feelings in check when the verdict was announced, an audible gasp was heard after the announcement of "guilty" — it was Michael's sister Latoya Jackson. Walking out of court later, LaToya would tell news cameras that justice had been done and that Michael was "looking over" the courtroom from the afterlife.

The Jackson family's happiness at walking out of court was in stark contrast to the defendant who would not walk out at all. Murray continued to betray little emotion even when Judge Michael Pastor remanded Murray to jail pending sentencing, citing the need to protect the public" This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being, Pastor announced, "That factor demands rather dramatically that the public should be protected." Deputy Jason Jones handcuffed Murray's hands behind his back and led him out of the courtroom en route to the jail cell he will call home until his sentencing hearing.

Jurors and defense attorneys did not hold press conferences after the verdict, but prosecutor David Walgren made short remarks including a kind word for the Jackson family who had lost "not a pop icon, but a son and a brother." Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley read a prepared statement extolling the work of his prosecutors, and thanking the courtroom personnel and the jury. Cooley said that due to jail overcrowding and California's budget crisis "it will be very difficult... to achieve incarceration for Conrad Murray."

Two days after the verdict, Juror number five Debbie Franklin — a 48-year-old paralegal appeared on ABC News to speak publicly about the previously-secret deliberations. Franklin was the juror tasked with pressing the deliberation room buzzer when a decision had been reached and recalled "our hearts were pounding" when they entered the courtroom to deliver their verdict. Franklin believed that Michael Jackson would still be alive if not for Murray's improper use of propofol in the bedroom, even though she believed Jackson had hired Murray to do just that: "Conrad Murray agreed to be the one to go into the bedroom and do this... he [Jackson] was looking for somebody to say yes, and Conrad Murray said yes." Franklin said the jury took an initial vote on their first day of deliberations (Friday, November 4), but could not reach unanimity so they took the weekend to mull it over. When they returned the following Monday, they reached consensus in just a few hours.

Conrad Murray will be sentenced on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Judge Pastor has wide discretion in punishment — he can set Murray free on probation or sentence him to up to four years in prison.

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