Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted in the death of Michael Jackson, was able to elude a group of hecklers after his release at 12:01 a.m. Monday, but that didn't stop them as his attorney addressed the media outside.
"Do you guys mind?" asked Murray's attorney Valerie Wass, her voice rising as she turned to face the pop star's supporters. "This group of fans isn't respecting [Jackson's] legacy."
Her claim that Murray has a contingent of "loyal" patients garnered heckling from a cluster of fans who had hoped to give Murray a piece of their minds as he walked free. But those hopes were dashed.
Murray, 60, was sentenced to the maximum four-year term for his role in Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, which the doctor had administered.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore, who briefly addressed reporters early Monday, offered few details about Murray's exit, except to say that he was released to "representatives," and that such releases are allowed on a "case-by-case" basis to ensure certain inmates' safety and security.
He would not confirm whether Murray was driven away in a sheriff's department vehicle.
The covert release riled Jackson supporters who said Murray received undue "special treatment."
Laura Sherwood, 27, said she moved from Phoenix to follow Murray's trial. She said she had hoped that Murray would show remorse.
"I just want to know why he won't admit and take responsibility for what he did," she said.
Julia Thomas said she wanted to tell Murray that "he's going to be taunted as long as he walks this earth."
Karlene Taylor, who wore a T-shirt that read "Thriller Killer" in red lettering, jumped in.
"If you go to any corner of the world," she said, "they know Michael Jackson and Jesus."
Under state sentencing rules, Murray was eligible for parole well in advance of the end of his sentence, but he nonetheless has endured a long ordeal since Jackson’s death, Wass said.
"They didn't release him one minute early," she said, speaking outside the jail early Monday. "I'm just happy he's finally out."
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