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Michael Jackson's death ruled a homicide

August 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Michael Jackson's death a homicide, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.According to the Associated Press, the coroner found a fatal combination of drugs in Jackson's system when he died. Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol and two sedatives in a lethal quantity.

The coroner's office is not commenting at this time, but the findings could mean that Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray could face criminal charges.

For two months Los Angeles authorities have been conducting searches and interviews as part of their ongoing investigation into the death of the pop singer.

Dr. Murray, who administered the drugs, has been under investigation since Jackson's death on June 25.

"Typically when the coroner determines that a homicide has occurred one would expect that criminal charges then would be filed and an arrest will be imminent," said Dana Cole, ABC News legal analyst.

A search warrant affidavit was unsealed Monday in Houston, detailing what Dr. Murray has told investigators.

In the most detailed account to date of the King of Pop's last hours alive, Dr. Murray said he had been treating the star for insomnia about six weeks before his death. Murray said he had been injecting Jackson with 50 milligrams of propofol, but feared his client was forming an addiction so he attempted to wean him off the drug.

According to the unsealed documents, on the day Jackson died Murray again tried to induce sleep without propofol. For several hours he tried various sedatives to promote sleep, but they didn't work. At 10:40 a.m., after repeated demands from Jackson, Murray gave him a 25 milligram injection of propofol. Ten minutes after monitoring Jackson, Murray left the room to use the bathroom, when he returned Jackson wasn't breathing.

Propofol is normally used in a hospital setting, typically during surgery.

According to the unsealed affidavit, there is no evidence that Murray purchased, ordered, or obtained the drug under his medical license.

"How he got it is almost secondary, the fact that he confesses to be the guy who actually injected him with it is going to be enough to tie him into any type of criminal conduct," said Cole.

Dr. Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, says police have twisted his client's account of the singer's last hours.

He released the following statement:

"Much of what was in the search warrant affidavit is factual. However, unfortunately, much is police theory."

The coroner's office has not publicly released the autopsy report on Michael Jackson citing a request by the LAPD to withhold the results until it completes its investigation.

The Jackson family released the following statement:

"The Jackson family has full confidence in the legal process, and commends the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department. The family looks forward to the day that justice can be served ."

Following is the series of sedatives given to Jackson by Dr. Murray on June 25, the day the singer died, according to the affidavit released Monday:

  • 1:30 a.m. - 10 milligram tablet of Valium, a sedative.
  • 2 a.m. - 2 milligrams of the sedative lorazepam (brand name Ativan) given intravenously.
  • 3 a.m. - 2 milligrams of the sedative midazolam (brand name Versed) given intravenously.
  • 5 a.m. - 2 milligrams of lorazepam given intravenously.
  • 7:30 a.m. - 2 milligrams of midazolam given intravenously.
  • 10:40 a.m. - 25 milligrams of propofol (brand name Diprivan) given intravenously and diluted with lidocaine (brand name Xylocaine).
  • 10:50 a.m. - Doctor leaves Jackson's room; returns minutes later to find Jackson not breathing. Begins CPR and gives 0.2 milligrams of flumazenil (brand name Anexate), used to reverse sedatives.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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