After five days of recess, the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray resumed in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday (October 19) with the airing of a dramatic video showing an actor going into cardiac arrest and being revived following a propofol overdose.
» Dr. Steven Shafer, anesthesiologist
» After the trial was recessed for two days to allow Shafer to attend a conference -- which he did not make it to in light of his father's death -- the anesthesiologist, who emphasized the fact that his pro bono consultation on the case is motivated by his desire to restore faith in the public that propofol is not fatal when administered and monitored properly, completed his testimony from last week. Shafer, an expert on the surgical anesthetic propofol, narrated a video in which jurors watched an actor pretending to go into cardiac arrest while being administered propofol. The Los Angeles coroner's office determined that Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication," which caused the singer to go into cardiac arrest.
» In the video, doctors and nurses successfully revive the patient using equipment and staffing that Murray did not have in
» Murray lawyer Ed Chernoff argued vehemently against showing the video, calling it "a terrifying dramatization of a person experiencing cardiac arrest" that he said was intended to inflame the jurors' minds. Prosecutors countered that it was aimed at educating jurors about the safe way to administer propofol. A judge allowed the video but ordered Deputy District Attorney David Walgren to re-edit the video mid-morning to delete several scenes that he said were not relevant to the case.
» Over the course of the afternoon, the prosecution walked Shafer through his analysis of 17 major infractions -- what Shafer termed "egregious violations" -- in Murray's treatment of Jackson. Four of those violations were deemed "fundamentally unconscionable," such as Murray's failure to purchase and implement the proper medical monitoring devices and his failure to chart and document his treatment of Jackson, or keep any records. "It's a setup for disaster," Shafer said, adding that the violations were all contributing factors in Jackson's death.
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.