• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Conrad Murray trial: Michael Jackson bodyguard told to hide vials

September 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson's bodyguard testified Thursday that Conrad Murray told him to hide medicine vials before calling 911.

During day three of the trial, prosecutors hoped to show that Jackson's doctor delayed calling 911 the day the King of Pop died and that Murray was more concerned about protecting himself than he was about saving Jackson's life.

Get complete coverage of the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Alberto Alvarez was the first bodyguard in Jackson's bedroom after Murray found the singer unresponsive. He said when he walked in, he saw Murray doing chest compressions on Jackson, who was in bed.

"He was laying on his back with his hands extended out," Alvarez said. "I observed that his eyes were slightly open ... and his mouth was open."

Alvarez choked up at times recalling the sight of Jackson's lifeless body and the sound of Jackson's children at the bedroom door.

Alvarez said Jackson's children were behind him, and he heard Paris Jackson scream, "Daddy!" That's when he said Murray told him, "Don't let them see their father like this."

Follow @abc7MurrayTrial on Twitter to get the latest updates on the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

After hearing that portion of testimony, Rebbie Jackson was crying, and fans in the courtroom were also sniffling.

Murray's actions before the 911 call was what prosecutor David Walgren pursued. Alvarez said he saw a catheter attached to the singer, as well as an oxygen tube attached to his nose. As Murray was performing CPR, he instructed Alvarez to stuff various items in bags, including an IV bag that had been slit open, and inside, a drained bottle of propofol - the sedative blamed for the overdose death.

Murray said he administered 25 milligrams of propofol, but inside the bag was a 1,000-milligram bottle.

Alvarez testified that he thought he was packing the items to get ready to go to the hospital.

"From my personal experience, I believed Dr. Conrad Murray had the best intentions for Mr. Jackson, so I didn't question his authority at the time," Alvarez said. "I knew it was a medical emergency, so I proceeded to follow Mr. Conrad Murray's instructions."

Murray then told Alvarez to call 911, and prosecutors played that 911 call for the jury. After calling 911, Alvarez said that he did chest compressions while Murray was giving Jackson mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The doctor remarked it was his first time performing the procedure.

Alvarez also testified that Murray ordered him to place a monitoring device - a pulse oximeter - on Jackson's lifeless finger before paramedics arrived.

The bags never made it to the hospital, and prosecutors claim Murray repeatedly lied to emergency personnel and did not tell them he had been giving Jackson doses of the drug as a sleep aid.

Questioning Alvarez's memory, defense attorney Ed Chernoff referred to a log of Alvarez's phone calls, which showed Alvarez had called 911 two minutes after he received a call to enter the house and check on Jackson.

"Is it possible, Mr. Alvarez, that you are confused about the timing of these particular events," Chernoff asked.

Chernoff also had Alvarez recall the very first words Murray said to him when he walked into the room, which Alvarez said was, "We need to get him to the hospital. We need an ambulance."

Murray's defense team played surveillance video from the hospital room where Jackson was declared dead. And under cross examination, Alvarez admitted he did not tell police about hiding the medicines until two months after Jackson died.

But Alvarez explained that he decided to tell police about the propofol after seeing investigative reports on television.

"When I saw that report, sir, is when I realized that I had touched something that resembled that milky white substance," he said. "So I felt that it was important to report that."

Alvarez was on the witness stand for more than three hours.

Following his testimony, Kai Chase, Jackson's personal chef, was called to the stand. She described how happy Jackson was the morning of the day he died, and how healthy he seemed when she saw him.

She then described how Murray came downstairs in a panic and frantically shouted for her to get help the day the singer died.

"His energy was very nervous and frantic. And he was shouting, 'Get help! Get Prince!' And I ran to go get Prince," she testified.

She said shortly after that, the Jackson children came downstairs crying and screaming. At the time, she didn't know that Jackson was lying on the floor in his bedroom, unconscious. Chase said she and nanny tried to calm the children.

"The children were crying and screaming. And the next thing we did, we started hugging and we came together and we held hands and we started praying. Neither one of us knew what was going on at the time but the energy in the house did not feel good," Chase testified.

At no time, she said, did the doctor ask her to call 911. It was later that she found out Jackson had died.

Under cross examination, Chase testified that she did not call for help or security and only notified Jackson's eldest son prince about the emergency.

The defense went on to ask Chase if she thought it was a good idea to simply alert a young boy about an emergency, but not follow through with calling security or 911. She said she just did the best she could under what was a very stressful situation.

Also at the courthouse Thursday was Jackson's former defense attorney Tom Mesereau, who said he thinks the prosecution is making its case.

"I think the prosecutor is telling a very clear, compelling, powerful story of a doctor who violated his oath, violated his responsibilities and then tried to cover it all up, even at the expense of his client dying because, for all we know, he could have been revived," he said.

On Friday, the prosecution intends to call the first paramedics who responded to Jackson's house when the 911 call was finally made, as well as two doctors from UCLA Medical Center.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. Prosecutors allege Murray tried to hide the fact that he had been giving the powerful sedative propofol to Jackson.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

The trial is expected to last five weeks, with Oct. 28 being the estimated last day.

Observations from the courthouse: Day 3

Every day of the Dr. Conrad Murray trial, ABC7 Eyewitness News is at the courthouse. Follow our tweets @abc7MurrayTrial. Here are some observations from Day 3:

  • Michael Jackson's family: Katherine Jackson, along with daughter Rebbie, were absent after the lunch break. Joe, Janet, Randy and LaToya were present all day.
  • Staying alert: After the lunch break, Joe appeared to doze off several times -- especially when prosecutor Deborah Brazil was talking in somewhat of a monotone. He was very attentive, however, to Kai Chase's testimony.
  • Taking notes: Almost all the jurors were taking notes during Kai Chase's testimony.
  • Do not disturb: There was an incident in the courtroom today when a cell phone of a member of the gallery, an older man who is a fan of Michael Jackson, began ringing. Court was stopped and a bailiff confiscated his phone. The man was thrown out. Later, LaToya's phone began to vibrate loudly in her purse, but neither the deputies nor the judge noticed it.
  • Keep their mouths shut: Judge Pastor made an express order to the attorneys that he wants this case tried in the courtroom and not in the media, and asked everyone to keep their opinions to themselves. On the way out, defense attorney Michael Flanagan was swarmed by camera crews but had to say that judge ordered him to keep his mouth shut and not share his views of how the trial is going.

View photos from the involuntary manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray.

Load Comments