Michael Jackson’s personal physician Dr Conrad Murray faces up to four years in prison after he was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of the star.
A jury of seven men and five women took eight and a half hours to reach a unanimous verdict, ruling that the doctor gave the King of Pop a fatal overdose of the anaesthetic propofol.
Murray, who could also lose his medical licence, was stony-faced as the verdict was read out.
The physician was refused bail and was led away to jail in handcuffs ahead of his sentencing on November 29.
Outside Los Angeles Superior Court, fans cheered when they learned of the conviction yesterday. Some were overcome with emotion and fainted.
Members of Jackson’s family wept and his mother Katherine told a reporter: “I feel better now.”
After leaving court, the singer’s sister LaToya Jackson tweeted: “VICTORY!!!!!!”
She later told her Twitter followers: “Michael I love you and I will continue to fight until ALL are brought to justice!”
The star’s father Joe told reporters: “Justice was served,” and Jermaine Jackson, the singer’s brother, added: “Michael is with us.”
His sister Rebbie Jackson said outside court: “It’s not going to bring him back but I’m happy he was found guilty.”
Explaining his decision to refuse bail, judge Michael Pastor said Murray had been convicted of “homicide predicated upon criminal negligence” and may pose a flight risk now he is a convicted felon.
He added that Murray’s “reckless conduct” posed a “demonstrable risk to the safety of the public”.
Speaking after the verdict, District Attorney Steve Cooley said: “We are gratified that the jury saw the overwhelming evidence of this case led to just one conclusion: that Dr Murray was guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the death of Michael Jackson.”
In a press conference, prosecutor David Walgren gave his sympathies to the Jackson family, saying they had not lost a “pop icon but a son and a brother”.
Defence attorney Ed Chernoff said the verdict was a disappointment and there would be an appeal.
Asked how Murray took the verdict, he said: “He is a pretty strong guy.”
Before his death on June 25, 2009, Jackson was preparing to perform a series of farewell concerts at London’s O2 venue, bowing out on an illustrious music career spanning several decades while aiming to restore his fortunes.
The court heard Murray gave the powerful sedative to the singer to help him overcome his chronic insomnia, but prosecutors said the use of the drug as a sleeping aid violated standards of care.
The court was told the “inept” 58-year-old doctor caused the star’s death through negligence, depriving Jackson’s children of their father.
Murray, who was due to be paid £150,000 a month for his role, acted in a criminally negligent way by using propofol as an insomnia treatment without the proper staff or medical equipment, the court was told.
Prosecutors said that he botched resuscitation efforts and lied to other medical personnel about his actions.
Murray’s defence lawyers claimed Jackson self-administered the dose when the doctor left the room.
Matt Blank, of the Michael Jackson World Network fan club, told BBC Breakfast that his happiness on hearing the verdict had been swiftly replaced by a feeling of sadness that the star’s death could have been avoidable.
“It (my reaction) was initially of happiness, a big smile came across my face, very similar to all the fans you hear outside – their celebration,” he said.
“But then, very quickly, it turned into a realisation, a very sad realisation, that actually there was someone to blame for this and therefore it could have been avoided.
“Knowing that and thinking of those ’what if?’ moments – what if he had never met Conrad Murray? – Michael Jackson could have been with us today and that is actually a very sad way of thinking about it.”
Dr Rosemary Leonard, resident doctor on BBC Breakfast, said it was clear that Jackson had a “really severe” addiction to prescription medication.
“A cardiologist should not be dealing with somebody who has got this degree of drug dependency,” she said.
“There are thousands of people in the world who have had terrible, severe injuries – look at the servicemen in Helmand. They don’t end up as drug addicts.
“The medical profession failed Michael Jackson, they didn’t challenge him and say ’I don’t care how much you pay me, you need to get this drug addiction problem sorted’ and that is what should have happened.”