The imprisoned cardiologist convicted of manslaughter in the 2009 death of Michael Jackson filed a request on Monday to have a key piece of evidence in his trial re-tested. Dr. Conrad Murray is asking an appellate court to order a lab to authorize a forensic analysis on residue in a drug vial taken from the bedroom of Jackson’s rented Los Angeles estate.
According to the Los Angeles Times Murray’s defense team thinks that the 100-milliliter bottle, which was a key piece of evidence at the 2011 trial that ended with Murray’s conviction on involuntary manslaughter charges, could help lead to a successful appeal of the sentence.
Murray’s fingerprint was on the bottle, which prosecutors said held the lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that killed Jackson. Prosecutors had argued that Murray mixed a small amount of propofol with another anesthetic, lidocaine, in an intravenous drip and then left Jackson unattended.
Murray’s defense team said the vial was in a bag of trash and was unrelated to Jackson’s death, countering that the pop icon injected himself with propofol from a syringe while the doctor wasn’t looking.
“If a forensic examination of the residue in Exhibit 30 revealed no lidocaine, it would completely negate [the prosecution expert's] concluding theory … leaving only the theory of bolus injection just prior to Jackson’s death,” appellate attorney Valerie Wass wrote in a filing.
This is the third time Murray’s lawyers have attempted to launch an appeal on these grounds after they argued that they did not fully comprehend the need to test the residue until the testimony of a prosecution expert near the end of the seven-week trial. During the trial, judge Michael Pastor refused a motion for further analysis shortly after the verdict; a second request was also denied.
Murray, 58, received a four-year sentence but is not expected to serve more than two years in county jail.