Photo Credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP
When Michael Jackson’s physician Conrad Murray pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, he unleashed the fury of the superstar’s family.
"He's lying. He's guilty. Nobody was there but him," Jackson's mother, Katherine, told the assembled media after the Feb. 8 arraignment at a Los Angeles courthouse. Jackson’s mother had attended the hearing with her estranged husband, Joe, five of her children and several grandchildren. Murray, she added, is "just trying to save his own behind. ... He killed him. He wasn't monitoring him."
Following the arraignment, Jackson’s father Joe appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and called Murray a "fall guy" in a wider conspiracy.
"To me, he's just a fall guy," Jackson told King. "There's other people, I think, involved with this whole thing. But I think that once he's interrogated — he will come clean and tell everything he knows." According to Joe, Michael Jackson told his mother that he feared he would be killed before he performed in London.
"He was afraid to even do all of these shows, because he was afraid that he wouldn't get a chance to finish all of the shows," Joe Jackson said. "He couldn't do all those shows back-to-back. Even his kids say that he had told them that he would be murdered."
Joe added that he was deeply disappointed by the manslaughter charge: "I was looking for justice. And justice, to me, would be a murder charge." According to legal experts, Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter because there was no proof the doctor purposely acted in a fashion intended to cause death or serious injury to his patient.
Michael’s sister La Toya Jackson shares her father’s belief that Michael was indeed murdered. In a statement issued after Murray’s involuntary manslaughter charge, La Toya stated, "Michael was murdered, and although he died at the hands of Dr. Conrad Murray, I believe Dr. Murray was a part of a much larger plan. There are other individuals involved, and I will not rest and I will continue to fight until all of the proper individuals are brought forth and justice is served."
According to MTV, La Toya and Joe Jackson have not elaborated on their allegations and neither has named any other suspected conspirators. Police have not named any other suspects in Jackson's death, after focusing almost exclusively on Murray during their nearly eight-month investigation.
If convicted, Murray will face up to four years of jail time. While the physician did not make a statement following his court appearance his attorney, Edward Chernoff, told the media that, "Dr. Murray is doing fine...He's in good spirits." Nonetheless, he stressed, the doctor has been distraught over Jackson’s death. "This has been a nightmare for [Murray] for many different reasons, and one of the reasons is that he lost a friend."
Do you believe Michael Jackson’s death was an accident or that he was murdered?