Michael Jackson doctor served legal maximum time, officials say
Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, spent 699 days behind bars -- the longest possible amount of time, according to L.A. County sheriff’s officials.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sentenced Murray in November 2011 to a maximum four-year term for his role in the pop star’s death, lambasting the doctor for not only showing no remorse but for actively “blaming the victim.” Jackson died June 25, 2009, of an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, which the doctor administered.
Early Monday morning, Murray was released from Men’s Central Jail, about a month shy of two years after he was sentenced.
That’s because under state sentencing laws, most inmates receive a day of credit for every day spent behind bars — meaning that although Murray was incarcerated for just less than two years, he technically served his full term. Additionally, according to the Sheriff’s Department, he was awarded several other credits that are standard for county inmates.
Nonetheless, Murray’s attorney said the doctor has endured a long ordeal.
“They didn’t release him one minute early,” said Valerie Wass, speaking outside the jail early Monday. “I’m just happy he’s finally out.”
Wass implored the media to respect Murray’s privacy as he reacclimates to life outside jail. His first priority was seeing his family, she said.
She added that she believes Murray will one day again practice medicine.
He has challenged his conviction, and that effort will continue in the state Court of Appeal, Wass said. He is seeking to have the verdict overturned because of insufficient evidence, among other grounds.
Murray believes, she said, that if the verdict were overturned, it would strengthen his case before the California Medical Board to practice medicine again in the state.
A Los Angeles jury this month found that concert promoter AEG Live was not liable in Jackson’s death, capping a marathon civil trial that laid bare the troubled singer’s health problems, struggles with drugs and fateful attempt at a comeback tour.
The issues in court included who was responsible for hiring Murray and overseeing his treatment of Jackson.
Wass’ 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.
Wass turned to face the pop star’s supporters.
“Do you guys mind?” she asked, her voice rising. “This group of fans isn’t respecting [Jackson’s] legacy.”
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 the doctor 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 had moved from Phoenix to follow Murray’s trial. She said she had hoped that he 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.”
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