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Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge’s stern voice broke the silence of a Los Angeles courtroom: “Money for madness medicine,” he said before sentencing Dr. Conrad Murray to the maximum four years behind bars for Michael Jackson’s death.
“Absolutely no sense of fault, and is and remains dangerous” to the community, Judge Michael Pastor said as he delivered a nearly half-hour tongue lashing that denounced Murray as a greedy, remorseless physician whose gross negligence killed the King of Pop.
Pastor said Murray sold out his profession for a promised fee of $150,000 a month and accused Murray of committing a “horrific violation of trust” when he agreed to give Jackson a powerful anesthetic every night as an unorthodox cure for insomnia.
Murray will likely serve less than two years in county jail, not state prison, because of California’s overcrowded prisons and jails. Sheriff’s officials said he will be housed in a one-man cell and be kept away from other inmates.
The tall, imposing Murray, who has been in jail for three weeks, was allowed to change into street clothes _ a charcoal gray suit and white shirt _ for court. But he wore prison issue white socks and soft slippers.
Jackson’s family said in a statement read in court that they were not seeking revenge but a stiff sentence for Murray that served as a warning to opportunistic doctors. Afterward, they said they were pleased with the judge’s sentence.
“We’re going to be a family. We’re going to move forward. We’re going to tour, play the music and miss him,” brother Jermaine Jackson said.
After sentencing, Murray mouthed the words “I love you” to his mother and girlfriend in the courtroom. Murray’s mother, Milta Rush, sat alone on a bench in the courthouse hallway.
“My son is not what they charged him to be,” she said quietly. “He was a gentle child from the time he was small.”
Of her son’s future, she said, “God is in charge.”
Murray, 58, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a six-week trial that presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson’s final hours, a story of the performer’s anguish over being unable to sleep.
Pastor was relentless in his bashing of Murray, saying the physician lied repeatedly and abandoned Jackson when he was at his most vulnerable _ under the anesthesia that Murray administered in an unorthodox effort to induce sleep.
“It should be made very clear that experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated, and Mr. Jackson was an experiment,” he said.
Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.
As for defense arguments that Jackson tempted his own fate when he demanded propofol, Pastor said, “Dr. Murray could have walked away and said no as countless others did. But Dr. Murray was intrigued with the prospect of this money-for-madness medicine.”
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