Monday, August 24, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Ruled a Homicide

Michael Jackson's death was not simply a drug overdose but a homicide, says the Los Angeles coroner's office. News broke this afternoon that the LAPD issued a warrant for Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, today. Legal experts and journalists say official charges are the next step.

Per CNN's story:

The Los Angeles coroner has concluded preliminarily that singer Michael Jackson died of an overdose of propofol, a drug he was given to help him sleep, according to court documents released Monday.
Los Angeles' coroner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran reached that preliminary conclusion after reviewing toxicology results carried out on Jackson's blood, according to a search warrant and affidavit unsealed in Houston, Texas.
The 32-page warrant said Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, told a detective that he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for six weeks. Murray said each night he gave Jackson 50 mg of propofol, also known as Diprivan, diluted with the anesthetic lidocaine via an intravenous drip. (CNN)
In the MSNBC video, one anchor says homicide means Jackson would not have died without the doctor's involvement.

The CNN story continues saying that Murray grew concerned that Jackson had become addicted to the drugs Murray had been giving him and attempted to "wean" him off the potent cocktail. The star suffered from insomnia and needed his sleep as he prepared for his final concert tour. The article gives a time line and dosage details.

Murray stayed by Jackson's bedside in the wee hours of the morning on June 25, closely monitoring him, according to Murray's statement to police. The report says he told detectives he left Jackson's side for no more than two minutes to go to the bathroom, and when he returned the King of Pop was not breathing.

Anesthesiologists usually administer propofol intravenously in hospitals to patients undergoing surgery. The patient must be monitored because the drug puts the brain to sleep; however, once the drip is stopped, the patient usually awakens quickly, say medical professionals.

Fans and the curious have been awaiting two important pieces of news on the pop icon since his untimely death in June, today's news and his burial date, September 3rd.

For many, Murray's arrest has been expected because after appearing to be cleared of suspicion initially, he was called in for questioning again, and police raided his offices at different locations. The L.A. Times reports results from police searching Michael Jackson's home.

Although Murray acknowledged to police that he administered propofol, authorities said they could find no evidence that he had purchased, ordered or obtained the medication under his medical license or Drug Enforcement Administration tracking number. However, police detectives saw about eight bottles of propofol in the house along with other vials and pills that had been prescribed to Jackson by Dr. Murray, Dr. Arnold Klein and Dr. Allan Metzger.
Other drugs that were confiscated in the search included valium, tamsulosin, lorazepam, temazepam, clonazepam, trazodone and tizanidine. They also found propofol in Murray’s medical bag. Murray told detectives that he was not the first doctor to administer the powerful anesthetic to Jackson.
At least two unidentified doctors gave Jackson propofol in Germany. Between March and April 2009, Murray said he called Las Vegas doctor David Adams at Jackson’s request to arrange for Adams to administer propofol. ... (LAT)

The Times also reports Murray told the police that he "repeatedly" asked Jackson about other drugs other doctors had given him, but Michael would not tell him.

In addition to Murray, authorities subpoenaed medical records from Dr. Arnold Klein, Dr. Allan Metzger and Dr. David Adams, the affidavit states. They also asked for medical records from Dr. David Slavitt, who conducted the independent medical examination of Jackson for Anschuntz Entertainment Group, Dr. Randy Rosen and nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee. They also subpoenaed records from Dr. Mark Tadrissi, who stored medical records with Adams. (L.A. Times story)
The blog Wendyista and Tennessee Guerilla Women are reporting on the homicide ruling as well as Bossip, where Baby Bossip reminds readers that Jackson's sister LaToya was the first to say publicly that she beleived her brother was murdered.

Jane at Celebrity Gossip thinks Murray will likely be charged in Jackson's death. MSNBC experts say charges are inevitable. The video above has an intersting tidbit, that Michael Jackson called Dipravan his "milk," and a multiple news sources report the star hid needle marks in his hands and feet.

As has been said by others since Jackson's death, this tragedy echoes the death of Elvis Presley in 1977. Despite public outrage once it was revealed that his doctor regularly supplied Presley with addictive drugs, the death was never ruled a homicide. Perhaps Presley's tragic death, the cover-up, and its other unresolved issues contributed to how officials have investigated Michael Jackson's death. Also, Jackson's friend Deepak Chopra decried how easy it is for doctors to enable stars in their addictions shortly after Jackson died.

Nordette Adams is a BlogHer Contributing Editor. You may keep up with her writing adventures at This entry is cross-posted at


Tom Degan said...

We have to give the man his due: Michael Jackson was - beyond a shadow of a doubt - a great artist whose recorded legacy will endure for decades, maybe even a century or more. But an examination of his life is riddled with questions of all that might have been; all that should have been. It is more than likely that this was a severely mentally ill human being who never sought the treatment he so desperately needed; surrounded by fawning sycophants who enabled his sickness by constantly reassuring him that he could do no wrong. As John Lennon once said in the same context about Elvis Presley, another victim of the excesses of fame: "It's always the courtiers that kill the king".

The sad, inescapable truth is that for reasons we will probably never be able to fully understand, his talent and his career were ultimately wasted. Like Charlie Parker, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and Lenny Bruce before him, his brilliance as an artist would be overshadowed by severe, psychological torment and an unexplainable desire for self-destruction. Therein lies the real, unspeakable tragedy of Michael Jackson.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Unknown said...

My God. Dr. Murray should bear the consequences of forsaking the boundaries prescribed by his medical license and the law and never, ever be permitted to practice again. If he can be so easily compromised by the clout of a celebrity and the smell of a stack of greenbacks, he should not be put in such a position of trust again. That said, it is insidious that Jackson family is crying foul play in a situation where Michael has a well documented history of prescription drug abuse and where Michael apparently insisted on the medications or as he called it, his "milk." It is patently clear that had he not gotten it from Murray, he would have just gone to someone else -- and he apparently has. These leeches merely see a money making opportunity to keep the Michael Jackson tragedy alive.