Jacksons v AEG Timeline Legal

Circumstances do not support self-administration: Murray trial update

By | Published on Wednesday 12 October 2011

Conrad Murray

The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Michael Jackson blew a hole in the defence’s main argument yesterday as the Conrad Murray trial resumed after a long weekend break. Murray, of course, is accused of causing the late king of pop’s death by negligently administering the drug propofol. The defence argue that Jackson must have self-administered the fatal shot of the surgical anaesthetic while the doctor was out of his room in a desperate bid to induce sleep.

But Dr Christopher Rogers, testifying for the prosecution yesterday, said it was “unreasonable to believe” the defence’s theory. According to the Associated Press, he told the court: “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. Then he stops breathing and all of this takes place in a two-minute period of time [the time Murray admits to being outside the singer’s bedroom]. To me, that scenario seems less reasonable than the alternate”.

The alternate scenario, Rogers said, was that Murray accidentally over-administered the drug. Rogers explained that Jackson would need a little shot of propofol every hour to stay asleep, because the drug actually wears off quite quickly. He would need “a little bit every hour” he said, “two or three tablespoons” each time. But, the medical examiner added, Murray had no device for accurately measuring out the drug, making the chances of administering too much by mistake much higher.

“We did not find any precision dosing device”, he told the court. “So the doctor would be estimating how much he was giving”. Rogers also noted that the empty propofol vial found at the scene would have carried quite a bit more of the drug than the doctor has admitted to giving the singer.

Rogers backed up previous doctors who have given evidence during Murray’s trial in confirming that the use of propofol outside of a hospital was unusual and unwise, and that monitoring equipment should be used to check a patient’s condition when taking such drugs.

Being questioned by the defence, Rogers conceded that another theory as to how Jackson may have self-administered propofol was possible. Defence attorney Michael Flanagan asked the medical examiner if, once Murray had started an IV drip of propofol for Jackson and left the room, “it would be easy for someone to inject into that IV?” Rogers confirmed it would. “And if he pushed it all at once, that can stop your heart, can’t it?” Again the witness concurred.

But, Rogers added, the self-administration theory still seemed unlikely and, even if that was the case, that would still constitute negligence on Murray’s part because he should never have left Jackson alone with such drugs within easy reach.

It’s thought the prosecution are now getting close to finishing their arguments as the case continues.