Michael Jackson Couldn't Kill Himself With Propofol, Expert Says

Last prosecution witness finishes his testimony in Dr. Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial.

The final prosecution witness in the involuntary manslaughter trial of [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] physician Dr. Conrad Murray finished his testimony Thursday (October 20), paving the way for the physician's defense to present their witnesses.

Once again, the jury heard from anesthesiologist and propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer, who presented a detailed list Wednesday of the 17 errors he believed Murray made in his treatment of Jackson.

The Witness

» Dr. Steven Shafer, anesthesiologist

Key Testimony

» Shafer, who has spent 20 years studying the effects of the surgical anesthetic propofol, informed the jury that there is no way Jackson could have caused his own death by swallowing the drug. Until it abandoned the line of reasoning last week, Murray's defense team appeared to be pursuing a theory that the pop star administered the fatal dose of the drug to himself when Murray was out of the room.

» According to CBS News, Shafer's claims were meant as a response to a report from defense expert Dr. Paul White, who said Jackson may have caused his own death by swallowing propofol. But Shafer said it's impossible for any propofol that is swallowed to enter the bloodstream, which is where coroner's officials found the drug during an autopsy of Jackson.

» Shafer also said Murray's improper use of propofol -- allegedly as a sleep aid -- has made his own patients afraid of the drug. "I am asked every day I'm in the operating room ... 'Are you going to give me the drug that killed Michael Jackson?' " Shafer said.

» A large portion of Thursday's testimony was dedicated to Shafer outlining his mathematical models that simulated various levels of propofol use, as well as demonstrations of how Murray had his medical equipment set up to administer propofol to Jackson. The prosecution later summarized Shafer's testimony, reiterating the fact that in Shafer's professional opinion, Murray's multiple deviations from standard medical care were the direct cause of Jackson's death. Shafer also said Murray is responsible for "every drop of propofol and lorazepam" that ended up in Jackson's room, no matter if he administered it or not, because Murray introduced Jackson to the sedatives in the first place.

» Murray's defense team was slated to question Shafer on Friday afternoon.

Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter, is facing four years in prison if convicted. But new sentencing laws in California meant to mandatorily reduce state prison overcrowding mean that, as a nonviolent offender with no prior record, he could be sentenced to county jail instead. If that is the case, his sentence could be reduced to two years and, because of overcrowding in the Los Angeles County jail, he may be allowed to serve the majority of his time under supervised house arrest.

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