The prosecution presented more incriminating evidence and witness testimony during day four in the manslaughter trial against former [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] doctor Conrad Murray.
Witnesses who took the stand Friday (September 30) included medical-equipment expert Bob Johnson; Robert Russell, a former patient of Murray’s; paramedics Richard Senneff and Martin Blount; and ER doctor Richelle Cooper.
Johnson’s testimony proved to be particularly interesting in that he claimed the device Murray was using to monitor Jackson’s pulse and blood oxygen level, a pulse oximeter, was an inferior model that did not feature an alarm that would have alerted Murray to Jackson’s cardiac arrest the moment it occurred. The alarm feature is a point of contention for the prosecution because they intend to prove that Murray showed gross negligence in administering a dose of the highly potent anesthetic propofol and then leaving Jackson in a room alone, attached to a device that lacked the proper monitoring capabilities.
Johnson was followed by Russell, a patient who Murray operated on twice after he suffered a heart attack and had to have several stents placed in his heart. Russell testified that while he was pleased with the results of his surgeries, Murray became unresponsive and distant in June 2009, when he canceled two follow-up appointments with Russell. The last time he had any contact with Murray was via a voicemail the doctor left claiming Russell’s heart was “repaired” and that he was leaving on sabbatical. The message was left approximately 30 minutes before Jackson’s bodyguard Alberto Alvarez called 911.
Fireman and paramedic Richard Senneff took the stand next to discuss the specific details involved in his attempts to resuscitate Jackson on the day of his death, particularly the fact that had Murray called 911 at the moment he found Jackson unconscious, the EMTs might have been able to save him. Senneff explained that when he arrived on the scene, only four minutes after they received the 911 call, Murray was “frantic” and that he had to ask the doctor three times what Jackson’s health condition was before Murray answered that there was none, despite the fact that he had been hooked up to an IV that was hanging nearby.
“Simply, that did not add up to me, doctors in the house, IV pole, IV hooked up to the patient; it simply did not seem normal,” he said, before adding that Murray lied to him about giving Jackson any medications, including propofol. Senneff also alleged that there were inconsistencies in Murray’s claim that he called 911 immediately, given the fact that when the EMTs arrived and attempted CPR, Jackson’s skin was “very cool to the touch” and his eyes dilated. When asked if he witnessed any signs of life in Jackson, Senneff said, “No, I did not.”
When Senneff’s colleague Martin Blount took the stand, he also told the court that he did not see any signs of life from Jackson when they arrived on the scene, and added that he witnessed Murray sweeping bottles of Lidocaine into a black bag before Jackson was taken out of the room.
The final witness to testify Friday was Dr. Richelle Cooper, the attending ER physician who treated Jackson when he arrived at the hospital. Cooper recounted asking Murray for a full list of the medications Jackson was taking, as well as what he claimed had happened to cause Jackson’s heart failure. Cooper said Murray thought Jackson was only dehydrated from his long rehearsals and revealed that the pop star was taking anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam, Flomax for an enlarged prostate and Valium. There was no mention of propofol.
Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter. He faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.