Coroner Findings on Jackson Death Not Released
CNS--Lethal levels of the powerful anesthetic propofol were found in Michael Jackson's body, and the singer's doctor acknowledged to investigators that he administered the drug on a nightly basis as a treatment for insomnia, according to court records unsealed today in Houston.
Meanwhile, a representative from the Los Angeles County coroner's office refused to comment on a report that Jackson's June 25 death had been ruled a homicide. Details of Jackson's autopsy have not been released at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to the Houston search warrant affidavit, which was first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, toxicology reports performed by the coroner's office found that Jackson "had lethal levels of propofol in his blood."
Dr. Conrad Murray, who was working as Jackson's personal physician while he prepared for a series of concerts in London, told Los Angeles police detectives that he had been giving Jackson 50 milligrams of propofol every night using an intravenous line for about six weeks, the court papers state.
Murray claimed, however, that he feared Jackson was becoming addicted to the medication and was trying to wean him off the drug. He said he lowered the dosage to 25 milligrams and mixed it with two other sedatives -- lorazepam and midazolam, according to the court document, a copy of which was posted online by TMZ.com.
According to the court paper, Murray told investigators that on the morning of Jackson's death, he tried to induce sleep without using propofol, administering a variety of drugs at various times throughout the morning instead. When those medications failed, Jackson repeatedly demanded the propofol, and Murray administered 25 milligrams of the drug, and Jackson went to sleep in a room at his rented Holmby Hills estate, according to the court document.
Murray told investigators he left Jackson for about two minutes to go to the bathroom, and when he returned, he found Jackson not breathing. He administered CPR until paramedics arrived and took the singer to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about two hours later.
The Associated Press, quoting an anonymous law enforcement official, reported today that the coroner's office had ruled Jackson's death a homicide. Ed Winter of the coroner's office refused to comment on the report.
Jackson's family, however, issued a statement supporting the officials handling the investigation.
"The Jackson family has full confidence in the legal process and commends the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department. The family looks forward to the day that justice can be served," according to the statement.
Murray's home in Las Vegas and offices in Nevada and Houston have all been searched in recent weeks by Los Angeles police and federal agents. Previous court filings from those searches indicated that investigators were conducting a manslaughter investigation.
Murray has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not administer any medications that should have led to the singer's death.
He posted a one-minute video on YouTube last week thanking his supporters and insisting that he has been truthful with investigators.
"I have done all I could do. I told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail," Murray said in the video.
According to the Houston search warrant affidavit, Murray told investigators he was not the first doctor to administer propofol to the pop singer.
"Murray stated that Jackson was very familiar with the drug and referred to it as his 'milk,"' LAPD Detective Orlando Martinez wrote in the affidavit.
"... Murray stated that he had repeatedly asked Jackson what other physicians were treating him and what was being prescribed to him, but Jackson would not tell him," Martinez wrote. "Jackson did mention that Doctor Arnold Klein and Doctor Alan Metzger had given him medicine and that it was not working."
Jackson had also received propofol from two doctors in Germany, according to the affidavit. Murray also told investigators that he noticed injection marks on Jackson's hand and feet.