The Michael Jackson saga took another dramatic turn Monday (February 8), as Dr. Conrad Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter , ending months of speculation on whether his personal physician would be held accountable for the pop icon’s death last June. Hours later, he would enter a not-guilty plea . As his legal team promised to “make bail, plead not guilty and fight like hell,” Murray faces a maximum of four years in prison.
Meanwhile, a legal expert told MTV News that the physician faces an uphill battle and predicted a difficult next few months. As his bail was set at $75,000, several members of the Jackson family looked on, with Joe Jackson later telling reporters, “We need justice.”
How did we get to this point? Here is a timeline of the Jackson death investigation.
Early June 2009: Murray, a physician with offices in Las Vegas and Houston, is hired by AEG Live to serve as Jackson’s personal physician several weeks before the pop star’s death, according to the Los Angeles Times. Jackson reportedly chose Murray, but AEG Live will pay his $150,000-a-month retainer.
June 22-23, 2009: According to a police affidavit, Murray attempts to wean Jackson off propofol by giving him a combination of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives, seemingly helping Jackson get some rest without the propofol.
June 25, 2009: Jackson suffers cardiac arrest at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, California. Murray reportedly tells police he found Jackson unresponsive and not breathing in Murray’s bedroom and that CPR did not revive the singer. Jackson’s death came after a typically fitful night of no sleep for the chronic insomniac, who relied on a cocktail of powerful sedatives to get to sleep.
June 26, 2009: Los Angeles Coroner’s office officials defer a cause of death in the Jackson case , pending further forensic tests.
June 28, 2009: Murray, whose car was impounded just days before as part of the probe into Jackson’s death, meets with LAPD detectives for the second time, providing information to aid the death investigation.
June 30, 2009: Coroner’s office officials pay a second visit to Jackson’s rented mansion to remove additional medical evidence from the residence.
July 2, 2009: The Drug Enforcement Administration joins the investigation into Jackson’s death, reportedly to look into Jackson’s doctors and the singer’s possible drug use prior to his death.
July 6, 2009: The Times reports that three search warrants on physicians who treated Jackson have been executed by the LAPD as part of their homicide investigation .
July 22, 2009: Police search Murray’s Houston office as part of a manslaughter investigation into Jackson’s death, taking away documents and images from a computer hard drive.
July 24, 2009: Murray’s spokesperson denies that he is a subject of a manslaughter investigation.
July 28, 2009: Police serve a search warrant on Murray’s Las Vegas home and office , carting away documents and evidence in their investigation. Among the items police seek in the searches are details about the many aliases Jackson allegedly used to obtain prescription medication.
August 11, 2009: The Coroner’s office completes its autopsy in the case, but puts the results on security hold in order to allow the LAPD to complete its criminal probe.
August 12, 2009: Officials from the DEA, Las Vegas police and LAPD execute a search warrant on Las Vegas’ Applied Pharmacy , in connection with the Jackson investigation. It is later revealed that Murray legally purchased propofol at the pharmacy.
August 18, 2009: Murray releases a one-minute video statement in which he addresses fans, friends and family, thanking them for their support and saying that because of the intense scrutiny of the case, he is afraid to return phone calls and e-mails.
January 8, 2010: The LAPD reportedly completes its investigation into Jackson’s death and is said to be preparing its case against Murray .
February 2, 2010: CNN reports that Murray is prepared to surrender to Los Angeles authorities in the Jackson case, if asked to do so.
February 8, 2010: Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter and pleads not guilty . An expert expects a difficult legal battle : “Everyone loves Michael Jackson, so it will be tough to find a jury without bias.”