What did Conrad Murray tell police after Michael Jackson's death?
The prosecution in the Conrad Murray trial played a tape of the statement Murray made to police two days after Michael Jackson died. This was the first time it has been heard in public.
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At one point he said he ran downstairs to try to get someone to help him with CPR. He said he called Jackson’s personal assistant on his cell phone and asked that security come help him. In addition, he gave an intravenous dose of the antidote flumazenil, which is administered to help wake overmedicated patients.Skip to next paragraph
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It didn’t work.
Murray told the detectives that he did not immediately call 911 or ask someone else to call because Jackson was his patient and he was doing the best he could. Eventually, when one of Jackson’s security guards arrived, Murray told him to call 911. The call was made at 12:20 p.m.
“I love Mr. Jackson. He was my friend,” Murray told the police. “He opened up to me in different ways and I wanted to help him as much as I can.”
The physician added, “He was a single parent and I always thought about his children, as I would think about mine.”
What it means for the trial
Although it was offered by prosecutors, the tape recorded account presents some useful openings for Murray’s defense team.
Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in Jackson’s death. If convicted he faces up to four years in prison and loss of his medical license.
Murray’s lawyers maintain that the doctor did not administer a fatal dose of propofol. They suggest that Jackson – frustrated by his inability to sleep – somehow self administered the deadly dose.
In his June 27, 2009 taped statement, Murray told police that Jackson wanted to infuse the propofol into his own system. Jackson told Murray other doctors had allowed him to do so.
“I refused him that option,” Murray said on the tape. He said the anesthetic is so fast acting that self dosing would be dangerous.
The most important aspect of the tape recording for prosecutors is that it highlights an extremely selective account of Jackson’s final hours – particularly the critical minutes from 11 a.m. to the arrival of paramedics at 12:26 p.m.
According to prior witnesses and telephone records, Murray was talking on his cellphone to his office and his girlfriend during the critical hour between his injection of propofol into Jackson and his apparent discovery that Jackson was in danger at around 11:56 a.m.
It is unclear why 911 was not called immediately. It is also unclear why at certain moments during that crucial time Murray appeared to be trying to clean up drug vials and a drip bag before paramedics would arrive in Jackson’s bedroom.
Ultimately, the case against Murray will come down to the issue of whether he acted recklessly or instead provided appropriate care to Jackson.
“I took all precautions that were available to me,” he told the detectives. “I made sure there was oxygen at the bedside, that he was placed on oxygen every night.” He added that he used a finger tip oximeter to track Jackson’s heart rate.
But medical experts say it is unheard of to administer propofol in a residential bedroom. The anesthetic requires monitoring devices with alarms, a full array of resuscitation equipment, and the constant attention of a skilled anesthesiologist, they say.
The trial is set to continue on Tuesday.