Michael Jackson giving self drugs still a homicide: official

Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:04pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A coroner in the Michael Jackson death case on Tuesday testified that even if the pop star self-administered the drug that killed him, the doctor caring for the singer still would have committed a homicide.

The testimony of Dr. Christopher Rogers, chief of forensic medicine for the Los Angeles County Coroner, could damage a possible plan by defense lawyers to claim it was the singer who caused his own death, not their client, Dr. Conrad Murray.

In questioning on the stand, Rogers said the simple fact that Murray gave Jackson the powerful anesthetic propofol without proper precautions constituted homicide.

Roger's testimony came on the sixth day of a preliminary hearing into whether Murray should be tried for involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's June 2009 drug overdose death.

Involuntary manslaughter is defined as an unintentional killing without malice. It is a lesser charge than murder.

Coroners have ruled Jackson's death was a homicide due mainly to the use of propofol, and prosecutors claim Murray, who was caring for Jackson when he died, was negligent in administering the drug and in watching over his patient.

Homicide refers to the killing of another person and encompasses everything from premeditated murder to involuntary manslaughter.

The doctor has pleaded not guilty, and defense attorneys have raised a question of whether Jackson killed himself.   Continued...

<p>William Keith, a fan of the late entertainer Michael Jackson holds a sign outside a court hearing in Los Angeles August 23, 2010, which was to set a date for Dr. Conrad Murray's hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require Murray to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in pop singer Michael Jackson's June 2009 death. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>