Strong heart. Good health. Not an addict.
As if reaching beyond the grave in a last ditch effort to defend himself against the false charge that he was a drug addict, Michael Jackson can rest easy now that the official autopsy-toxicology report has cleared him. In plain language, Michael Jackson was not addicted to drugs. The pop star was in good health. According to the Associated Press (AP), "he wasn't the sickly skeleton of a man portrayed by tabloids." Surprise. "In fact," reports AP, "the Los Angeles County coroner's report shows Jackson was a fairly healthy 50-year-old before he died of an overdose. His 136 pounds were in the acceptable range for a 5-foot-9 man. His heart was strong with no sign of plaque buildup. And his kidneys and most other major organs were normal." In summarizing these conclusions AP states further that the chairman of the anesthesiology department at the University of California at Irvine, Dr. Zeev Kain, declared: "His overall health was fine."
Michael Told the Truth: For years comedians, members of the media, and others ruthlessly teased Michael Jackson because of his lightening skin. They accused him of trying to be White, taking the insult to a new low when they said he was born a poor Black boy, but had grown up to be a rich White woman. This is what Michael Jackson had to endure. His pleas to believe him when he said he had vitiligo, a skin disease that caused white blotches on his black skin, fell on deaf ears. He used skin whiteners in an attempt to offset the problem. This effort drew even more brutal accusations from Blacks, Whites, and others. Now, the truth comes out. On the cold dead body of Michael Joseph Jackson the coroner found "depigmentation of his skin around his chest, abdomen, face and arms." No, Michael Jackson was not trying to be White. He merely wanted to balance out the discoloration, especially around his face. He knew he was a Black man who loved people of all colors and races; but who also never forgot his humble roots.
"Well, what about those puncture marks they found on his arms?" cold, callous, unbelieving naysayers might inquire. "You find the same marks on other drug addicts!" Well, I'll let Dr. Kain's synopsis, as related by another source, act as a response to this brazen insensitivity: "The medical examiner found numerous punctures on both arms and on a knee and ankle. The leg punctures could have been from intravenous therapies not described in the autopsy report Kain said." Those of us who knew Michael always knew that he had not and would never shoot illicit drugs into his veins whether found on his arms or legs!
Toxicological Report: Within 24 hours after Michael Jackson was declared dead Medical Examiner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran and Dr. Christopher Rogers performed an extensive review and ordered a toxicology screening to assist in determining the cause of death. This, to be sure, is an intense procedure. Though not involved in Michael's autopsy, Dr. Howard Oliver, a forensic pathologist who performed autopsies on Coretta Scott-King and Yolanda King-the wife and daughter respectively of the late Dr. Martin Luther King-gave me an idea of what is involved. "Specialized equipment costing several hundred thousand dollars is used in these tests," he said. "And the highly skilled personnel meticulously operating the sensitive, carefully calibrated equipment are PhDs." Such tests were necessary since the coroner's office had previously announced that Michael Jackson's death was a homicide caused by "acute propofol intoxication" working in conjunction with other sedatives.
Shady Characters?: Although nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee said Michael Jackson "begged" her for drugs to feed his addiction (singing essentially the same song as Dr. Conrad Murray who said Michael insisted on his "milk," aka propofol), we now have hard evidence that it's highly unlikely such requests were ever made. Regrettably, although these stories were fishy to those of us in the know, the media (along with their legal and medical experts) took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Now that the truth has come out, the silence from media quarters is deafening.
And then there are those who fans say are trying to capitalize on the media frenzy surrounding the Gloved One's death. For instance, a growing number of people have expressed their concern over a certain Dr. Susan Etok.
Dr. Etok introduced herself to me by email using the fact that both our mothers are Jehovah's Witnesses (as is the case with Michael's mother Katherine). In the email dated August 27, 2007, she also wrote: "I have never met you before but Michael spoke very highly of you." Though not a physician, she alleges that Michael hit her up for some propofol. I briefly met with her several times over a period of a few days when she visited Los Angeles. (An unknown photographer took a picture of us that now appears on her blog.) Professional colleagues told me I was being played, right along with the rest of the media she interviewed with. At their urging, I took certain precautionary measures, unbeknown to her, whenever we met or spoke on the phone. As it turned out, she never presented any evidence of her claims, or that she and Michael were friends. Should her actions and motives be suspect? Is she a shameless opportunist? I don't know the woman. Therefore, I can't say. Let's hope she's not just another nut case.
Criminal Charges: Criminal defense attorney Mark Werksman is quoted as saying: "Michael Jackson was a healthy person whose death appears to have been directly caused by the administration of some very powerful sedatives." The former federal prosecutor reportedly continued: "This autopsy report seems to clear the path for a prosecution that his death was caused by an overdose." Werksman isn't alone in reaching this conclusion.
Also noting that the autopsy report bolsters criminal prosecution and a civil suit against Dr. Conrad Murray (the cardiologist with 20 years experience that administered the deadly cocktail of drugs), Stan Goldman, a fair-mined criminal law professor at Loyola Law School whose path I crossed several times during the Michael Jackson trial, weighed in on the legal ramifications of the autopsy-toxicology reports. He is quoted as saying: "The question for me is not if the prosecution has a stellar case for involuntary manslaughter but if they are going to try to go for some kind of murder." Of course, "murder" is the conclusion that family and friends close to Michael have said all along, and has been the subject of two of my past column pieces.
Yet another news source reveals: "The autopsy findings cut off a potential defense for Murray-that Jackson hid serious pre-existing conditions that increased the risk of death from the drugs he willingly took. Even if he did hide a condition such as his weakened lungs, a prosecutor could argue Murray should have detected the condition before administering drugs, said Michael Brennan, a clinical law professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in criminal defense." When this is coupled with the fact that "The coroner's office...said the standard of care for administering propofol was not met and the recommended equipment for patient monitoring, precision dosing and resuscitation was missing," things look pretty bleak for Dr. Murray, et al. It appears that Michael Jackson's death was premeditated.
Again, we'll let the medical experts, police investigators, judge and jury do their jobs. By way of reminder, the Sentinel does not endorse vigilante justice. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior, and the Lord God Jehovah God is our Final Judge. It behooves us, then, to place the case of the death of Michael Jackson in the bosom of the King of kings, right alongside the memory of the King of Pop. Stay tuned. Amen.
Dr. Firpo Carr n can be reached at