Michael Jackson’s former doctor has been jailed for four years, three weeks after being found guilty of killing the pop star.
Prosecutors who depicted Conrad Murray, 58, as remorseless for the superstar’s death urged the judge to sentence him to four years in prison, while a defense lawyer said Murray was in a prison of self-punishment and should receive probation.
Murray has been in jail since he was convicted on November 7 of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s fatal overdose of the anaesthetic propofol.
Prosecutors said Murray has shown no remorse for Jackson’s death and has placed blame on others, including Jackson himself.
They submitted a series of post-trial media interviews with Murray on a DVD.
In one excerpt, Murray states, “I don’t feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong.”
Defence lawyer Nareg Gourjian, citing letters of praise from Murray's former patients, said: ``There is no question that the death of his patient, Mr Jackson, was unintentional and an enormous tragedy for everyone affected. Dr Murray has been described as a changed, grief-stricken man, who walks around under a pall of sadness since the loss of his patient, Mr Jackson.''
Mr Gourjian said Murray will never stop punishing himself over Jackson’s loss and, “In effect, he will be serving a form of life sentence. However, the offence was not wilful nor intended. ... He is, by every account, immensely sorrowful and remorseful.”
Murray was convicted after six weeks of evidence focusing on his administration of propofol. While Jackson was under the influence of the drug, Murray admitted leaving the room, prosecutors noted. They said he abandoned his patient when he was the most vulnerable.
Mr Gourjian noted that because of constant death threats, Murray must be kept in solitary confinement, which is expensive.
Prosecutors included a claim of $100m (€75m) in losses because of Jackson’s death and suggested that “appropriate restitution” from Murray be ordered for Jackson’s children.
Brian Parish, a lawyer for Michael Jackson’s family, told the judge that the family was not seeking revenge.
However he said family members wanted a stiff sentence that served as a warning to opportunistic doctors.
Judge Michael Pastor said Murray had displayed a ``horrific violation of trust'' in caring for Jackson.
Murray sat motionless with his hands crossed as the judge said: “Dr Murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine.
“The practice of propofol for medicine madness, which violated his sworn obligation, for money, fame prestige and whatever else may have occurred.”
Judge Pastor said one of the most disturbing aspects of Murray’s case was a slurred recording of Jackson found on the doctor’s mobile phone.
“That tape recording was Dr Murray’s insurance policy,” the judge said. “It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient’s most vulnerable point.”
Murray could serve half of the four years because of overcrowding in California jails.