Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Michael Jackson doctor leaves jail

Conrad Murray served less than two years in jail after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter over Michael Jackson's death (AP)

The doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson has been released from jail after serving nearly half of a four-year sentence.

Conrad Murray was released from the Los Angeles jail at 12.01 am. local time. A change in California law allowed his time inside to be significantly cut.

The former cardiologist was convicted in 2011 of causing Jackson's death in June 2009 by providing the superstar with an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. Jackson was in the middle of preparing for a series of comeback concerts and Murray was serving as his personal physician.

Murray's prospects are uncertain: At age 60 his licence to practice medicine has been suspended or revoked in three states and his face and name are well known due to his association with Jackson and his highly publicised involuntary manslaughter trial.

The former doctor is appealing against his conviction, although an appeals court has questioned whether it needs to hear the case. His lawyer Valerie Wass has argued that the court should not dismiss the appeal because it could alter his overall sentence and reduce some of the stigma his conviction has caused.

Despite being jailed, Murray has not been silent. Audio recordings of his calls have been posted on celebrity website TMZ and the ex-doctor told the Today show that he cried tears of joy after a civil jury recently decided that the promoters of Jackson's comeback shows did not negligently hire him.

He did not, however, give evidence in the civil case or during his criminal trial.

Murray previously maintained clinics in Houston and Las Vegas and frequently complained about conditions in jail after his conviction. He was allowed to serve his entire sentence in a Los Angeles jail rather than a state prison due to a law aimed at easing overcrowding by shifting non-violent offenders to local lock ups.

"Dr. Murray has not received any special treatment in jail and in fact has many less privileges than most inmates because of his notoriety," Ms Wass said. She said he "is very much looking forward to his release and getting on with his life. However, the fact of his incarceration is increasingly difficult for him."

Earlier this month jurors in a lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live LLC decided that the doctor was not unfit or incompetent to serve as Jackson's tour doctor.

No doctor or medical expert has condoned Murray's treatments of Jackson during either the criminal or civil cases. He told police he gave the singer nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep but lacked the proper medical or monitoring equipment required to administer anaesthesia.

-AP

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