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Jackson 'did not give fatal dose'

A coroner dealt a major blow to the defence of Michael Jackson's doctor, saying it was unreasonable to believe the pop star could have given himself a fatal dose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol.

Dr Christopher Rogers, who conducted the post-mortem on Jackson, 50, told a Los Angeles jury it was more likely that Dr Conrad Murray overdosed the singer when he incorrectly estimated how much of the drug he was giving him to induce sleep to fight insomnia.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Dr Rogers said Murray had no precision dosing device available in the bedroom of Jackson's rented mansion. "The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self-administration of propofol," said Dr Rogers, chief of forensic medicine in the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Dr Rogers analysed two possible scenarios for Jackson's death in June 2009. The first was the defence theory that while Murray stepped away to go to the bathroom, Jackson gave himself an extra dose of the drug he called his "milk".

"In order for Mr Jackson to have administered the propofol to himself, you would have to assume he woke up and although he was under the influence of ... propofol and other sedatives, he was somehow able to administer propofol to himself," Dr Rogers said. "Then he stops breathing and all of this takes place in a two-minute period of time. To me, that scenario seems less reasonable.

Dr Rogers said he considered a number of factors in ruling the death a homicide. Among them were Murray's statements to police and the lack of sophisticated medical equipment in Jackson's bedroom, where the superstar had been receiving the anaesthetic. He said there was no EKG monitor and no resuscitation equipment present in the room. Dr Rogers also said it would be inappropriate to use propofol outside a hospital or clinic.

Later, defence lawyer Michael Flanagan spent more than two hours trying to show on cross-examination that Jackson indeed could have self-administered drugs - not just propofol but the sedative lorazepam, which could be taken in pill form.

Dr Rogers' evidence came after jurors heard the end of Murray's recorded interview with police two days after Jackson's death, in which he first disclosed he had been giving Jackson propofol to help him sleep. The interview helped transform the investigation into Jackson's death from a simple death inquiry into a homicide case.

The interview also included Murray's description of informing Jackson's mother and children that the entertainer was dead. "After they cried and cried and cried, then his daughter uttered a lot of words of unhappiness," Murray told detectives, saying Paris Jackson was afraid of being alone after her father's death. "'I know you tried your best, but I'm really sad'," he continued, recounting her words. "'I will wake up in the morning, and I won't be able to see my daddy'


From Belfast Telegraph