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Jacko killer 'treated like Lecter'

The civil lawyer for the doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson said his client is coping with tight jail security and his isolation, and remains optimistic that he will win an forthcoming appeal.

Charles Peckham said sheriff's deputies appear to be enforcing more security on Conrad Murray than on other prisoners at Los Angeles's main men's jail.

Mr Peckham likened the heavy shackles left on Murray during a meeting on Tuesday as treatment more appropriate for the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Murray is expected to serve roughly two years of a four-year sentence for the involuntary manslaughter death of Jackson in June 2009.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Murray has extra security because of his notoriety and deputies are being "extra cautious" for his safety. "Treating him like Hannibal Lecter is offensive," Mr Peckham said, but sheriff's officials defended the security measures at Men's Central Jail, saying they were for Murray's safety.

The lawyer had to obtain a court order on Tuesday to meet Murray to discuss strategy on a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson's father. Mr Peckham said despite the judge's order, he was denied entry to the jail, but officials relented after speaking with the civil trial court handling the case.

He said their initial 30-minute meeting was cut short when the jail was placed in lockdown, but Mr Peckham said the time was enough to upset him and see that Murray's fortunes had dramatically changed. "This man who saved lives made a mistake, and they're going to make him pay like a mass murderer," he said.

Murray "is a real target because of his notoriety and because of the Michael Jackson connection", Mr Whitmore said. "We're just being extra cautious right now."

He said jail officials will evaluate how to handle Murray's incarceration, but that he may not serve his whole sentence in isolation from other inmates. He noted that without a recent change in state law, Murray would be serving his term in state prison, not a county lock-up.

Mr Peckham said Murray, who has been jailed since a jury convicted him of involuntary manslaughter on November 7, is optimistic that the courts will grant an appeal on the case.

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