October 12, 2011 in Nation/World

Jackson didn’t give himself lethal dose, expert testifies

Timetable of death center of testimony
Victoria Kim Los Angeles Times
Associated Press photo

Dr. Conrad Murray listens in court as his attorney J. Michael Flanagan questions a witness during Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson could not have given himself the lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic that killed him, a medical examiner who performed the singer’s autopsy testified Tuesday, dealing a blow to the defense argument that the singer died by his own hand.

As the third week of testimony in Dr. Conrad Murray’s involuntary manslaughter got under way, Dr. Christopher Rogers, an examiner with the Los Angeles County Coroner, testified it was the words of the defendant that led him to rule out a scenario in which Jackson gave himself the anesthetic propofol. Murray’s attorneys have told jurors scientific evidence will show Jackson caused his own death.

Murray told detectives in an interview that he left the singer’s bedside for about two minutes to go to the bathroom and returned to find his patient had stopped breathing. That window, Rogers said, was not enough for any propofol Jackson took himself to make its way to the singer’s brain and take effect.

“The circumstances from my point of view do not support self administration of propofol,” the medical examiner said. “You’d have to assume that Mr. Jackson woke up, although he was at least to some extent under the influence of propofol and other sedatives, he was able to somehow administer propofol to himself.”

More likely, given the condition in which Murray was treating Jackson with the powerful anesthetic, Rogers said, was that the doctor had mistakenly given an excessive quantity of the drug. Rogers ruled in his August 2009 autopsy report that Jackson had died of homicide.

“I think it would be easy in those circumstances for the doctor to estimate wrong and give too much propofol,” Rogers told jurors Tuesday.

“And some variation of that scenario you find to be more likely?” Deputy District Attorney David Walgren asked.

“Yes,” Rogers responded.

An attorney for Murray, however, asked Rogers to acknowledge that the quantity of propofol the physician said he gave Jackson could not have resulted in the levels found posthumously in the singer’s blood.

“If Dr. Murray’s telling the truth and slowly infuses 25 milligrams of propofol, you wouldn’t assume it to get nearly those levels would you?” Attorney Michael Flanagan asked.

“Assuming that is all he infuses, yes,” Rogers replied.

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