Jackson doctor pleads not guilty to manslaughter

Mon Feb 8, 2010 5:43pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's doctor on Monday pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the sudden death of the pop star last year from a lethal cocktail of drugs.

Dr. Conrad Murray, who has offices in Houston and Las Vegas, entered a Los Angeles courthouse to chants of "murderer" from Jackson fans gathered outside. Inside the courtroom, he faced members of the "Thriller" singer's family.

Dressed in a gray suit and red tie, Murray stood upright and spoke in a soft voice when addressing the judge.

Murray has been the focus of a police probe for months since the Los Angeles coroner's office ruled that Jackson's June 25 death was a homicide, due partly to the powerful anesthetic propofol which Murray admitted giving the 50-year-old singer to help him sleep.

The coroner's report said Jackson's death was caused by propofol and the sedative lorazepam. Painkillers, sedatives and a stimulant also were found in his body.

Authorities found bottles of propofol in Murray's doctor's bag and on the bedside table of Jackson's home, according to court records unsealed last year. They also searched Murray's offices in Las Vegas and Houston.

Prosecutors said Murray "did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson," according to a statement from the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.

Murray faces up to four years in prison if convicted, a sentence that some of Jackson's followers believe is relatively light given that his actions may have led to the singer's death.   Continued...

<p>Doctor Conrad Murray, the late Michael Jackson's personal physician, arrives at the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Branch Courthouse to face involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Michael Jackson in Los Angeles, February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>