Jackson death ruled homicide, focus on doctor

Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:48pm EDT
 
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson's death was ruled a homicide from drug overdose on Friday, fueling speculation his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, may soon be charged with manslaughter or another crime.

The Los Angeles County Coroner said in its ruling that the powerful anesthetic propofol, which is used in surgery and has been dubbed "milk of amnesia" by some doctors, as well as the sedative lorazepam were the primary drugs responsible for Jackson's sudden death on June 25 at the age of 50.

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

Los Angeles police said they will refer the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges when they have completed a probe into Jackson's death. In previous court filings, police have said Murray, who was with the singer the day he died, was being investigated for manslaughter.

Jackson, whose "Thriller" CD is the best-selling album of all time, died suddenly in Los Angeles after suffering cardiac arrest only weeks before a series of comeback concerts.

Murray, a heart specialist with offices in Houston and Las Vegas, was hired to care for the singer while he prepared for the concerts, and he was at Jackson's bedside the day he died.

The doctor previously has admitted to police that he administered propofol, which has a milky appearance and is used to sedate patients, to help Jackson sleep.

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<p>Michael Jackson gestures during a news conference at the O2 Arena in London March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>