LOS ANGELES – It was clear that Michael Jackson’s doctor was going to get the maximum four-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter before the judge even finished speaking.
In a nearly half-hour tongue lashing, Dr. Conrad Murray was denounced as a greedy, remorseless physician who committed a “horrific violation of trust” and killed Jackson during an experiment.
“Dr. Murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine,” Judge Michael Pastor said in a stern voice.
Pastor said Murray sold out his profession for a promised fee of $150,000 a month when he agreed to give Jackson a powerful anesthetic every night as an unorthodox cure for insomnia.
Murray will likely serve less than two years in county jail, not state prison, because of California’s overcrowded prisons and jails. Sheriff’s officials said he will be housed in a one-man cell and be kept away from other inmates.
After sentencing, Murray mouthed the words “I love you” to his mother and girlfriend in the courtroom.
Murray, 58, was convicted after a six-week trial that presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson’s final hours, a story of the performer’s anguish over being unable to sleep.
Pastor was relentless in his bashing of Murray, saying the physician lied repeatedly and abandoned Jackson when he was at his most vulnerable – under the anesthesia that Murray administered in an unorthodox effort to induce sleep.
“It should be made very clear that experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated, and Mr. Jackson was an experiment,” he said.
Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.
Murray declined to testify during his trial but did participate in a documentary in which he said he didn’t consider himself guilty of any crime and blamed Jackson for entrapping him into administering the propofol doses.
“Yikes,” the judge said. “Talk about blaming the victim!”