Conrad Murray found guilty of involuntary manslaughter
His public life, however, eventually became a surreal depiction of the toll of celebrity. He went on wild spending sprees, married and divorced Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, and had three children who were kept disguised in masks because he feared their kidnapping.
When he was tried and acquitted of child molestation in 2005, Jackson appeared to fall apart, moving to the Middle East and other countries in search of a new life.
The comeback concerts in London were his chance for redemption. Mindful of the physical requirements, he hired Murray as his private doctor.
Prosecutors portrayed the 58-year-old Murray as an incompetent doctor who administered propofol - an extremely potent anesthetic normally used during surgery - in Jackson's bedroom without adequate safeguards and botched his care when things went wrong.
Murray, who did not testify, told police that he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died. And his lawyers blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself an extra, lethal dose while Murray wasn't watching.
Prosecutors said that theory was crazy, and in any case, they argued, Murray should not have left Jackson alone.
The jury was not asked to determine whether Murray actually gave Jackson the fatal dose, only whether he was primarily responsible for the singer's death.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren extended his sympathies to the Jackson family, who "lost not a pop icon, but a son and a father."
In Las Vegas, a former Murray patient and current friend, Donna DiGiacomo, sobbed and said the jury was under "overwhelming pressure to convict."
"This man didn't deserve this. They needed a scapegoat," said DiGiacomo, a former Long Island, N.Y., teacher's aide who said she didn't believe Murray did anything to intentionally harm Jackson.
Testimony came from medical experts, household employees and Murray's former girlfriends, among others. The most shocking moments, however, came when prosecutors displayed a large picture of Jackson's gaunt, lifeless body on a hospital gurney and played his drugged, slurred voice, as recorded by Murray just weeks before the singer's death.
Security and household staff described Murray as panicked, never calling 911 but trying to give Jackson CPR on his bed instead of on the firm floor. A guard said Murray was concerned with packing up and hiding medicine bottles and IV equipment before telling him to call 911.
There is no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But expert witnesses for the prosecution said that using propofol at home without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from the standard of medical care. Prosecutors called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
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