It's been nearly six months since Michael Jackson's death, and police investigating the case say it could be several more months before any charges in the homicide are filed.
The Los Angeles Times reported that due to the complex nature of the investigation and the large amount of evidence to sift through, including medical data that have required the help of outside experts, prosecutors don't expect to file any charges in the 50-year-old pop icon's death before 2010.
An unidentified source told the paper that any decision on criminal charges is "months rather than weeks away." Sources who spoke to the Times anonymously due to the ongoing nature of the investigation said that the evidence is being sorted through by Los Angeles Police Department detectives, prosecutors and outside medical advisors in an attempt to determine whether charges should be filed.
To date, Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has been identified in search warrants as a suspect in a manslaughter investigation and appears to be the main focus of the inquiry. Murray, 56, has reportedly told investigators that he injected Jackson with the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol prior to his death. Coroner's officials have said that Jackson died from "acute propofol intoxication," and the presence of lethal levels of that drug in his system combined with other sedatives led to a declaration that his death was a homicide. The official autopsy results have not yet been released, pending the completion of the police investigation. Murray told investigators that chronic insomniac Jackson was dependent on propofol to sleep and that he was trying to wean the pop star off the drug.
Murray's attorney has said that the doctor did not administer anything to the singer that "should have" caused his death and that his client has been cooperating with authorities. In addition to police searches at Murray's Texas and Las Vegas medical clinics and his Las Vegas home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office called in Murray's girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez, to testify before a grand jury panel as part of the investigation.
The Times reported that with no suspects in custody, sources familiar with the Jackson investigation have compared it to the probe involving the death of actress Lana Clarkson, in which prosecutors took more than a year before filing murder charges against Phil Spector. Given the high-profile nature of the Jackson probe, prosecutors are also reportedly under pressure to compile the strongest possible case before announcing any charges.