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Coroner says Jackson's death was manslaughter.

Summary: Pop star Michael Jackson died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents showed on

Pop star Michael Jackson died from a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol given in a cocktail of drugs, leading authorities to suspect his doctor of manslaughter, court documents showed on Monday.

The documents unsealed in Houston cites the Los Angeles County coroner's office as concluding after an autopsy that a fatal cocktail of drugs including propofol was administered to Jackson hours before the "Thriller" singer suffered cardiac arrest and died on June 25 at age 50. The affidavit also said the singer's personal physician, cardiologist Conrad Murray, was giving propofol and other drugs to Jackson -- at the star's insistence -- to treat his insomnia, but that he was worried Jackson had developed an addiction and so he "tried to wean Jackson off of the drug."

The documents shed light on one of the last remaining questions about Jackson's sudden death, but they also increase the possibility that the death is ruled a homicide and that criminal charges are brought against Murray, who was with Jackson on the morning of his death.

Murray has been the target of a manslaughter investigation for weeks, but on Monday the coroner's office would not confirm or deny that the death was ruled a homicide.

"We have not released the findings and the case is still under a security hold," said Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Regarding news reports Monday that the coroner had declared Jackson's death a homicide, Winter told AFP: "We have not said that."

Portrait of an adict

The findings, contained in a warrant to search Murray's home and offices, paint a picture of an insomniac pop star who could not sleep without heavy medication. Jackson sought out propofol -- routinely used to sedate patients and anesthetize them before surgeries such as a colonoscopy -- and called it his "milk."

"The Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. (Lakshmanan) Sathyavagiswaran, indicated that he had reviewed the preliminary toxicology results and his preliminary assessment of Jackson's cause of death was due to lethal levels of propofol (diprivan)," according to a warrant to search Murray's offices issued by California.

The document was unsealed and released by the Harris County District Clerk in Houston, where Murray has an office. U.S. agents raided the office on July 22.

In an affidavit seeking the warrant, Houston police officer E.G. Chance said U.S. agents had gathered "items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense."

The doctor was in

Murray's attorney, Ed Chernoff, was not available to comment. Murray had said while the pop icon was under his care he repeatedly asked him who else was treating him and what they had prescribed for him, but he claimed Jackson never gave him the specific information he requested.

Authorities reportedly are talking to several other doctors regarding Jackson's medical history, as well, as they determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

In a statement, a representative said Jackson's family has "full confidence in the legal process, and commended the ongoing efforts of the L.A. County Coroner, the L.A. District Attorney and the L.A. Police Department."

Murray, who was with Jackson on June 25 administering drugs to ease the pop star to sleep, gave him a range of medication including a 25-milligram dose of propofol via an intravenous drip at 10:40 a.m. PDT, the state search warrant said.

Jackson was "very familiar" with propofol and referred to it as his "milk" because of its milky appearance, the warrant said. Murray, who had been treating Jackson for about six weeks leading up to his death, was worried that Jackson was addicted to propofol and was trying to wean him off the drug by giving him smaller doses, it said.

In the early hours of June 25, Murray also gave Jackson doses of anti-anxiety medications Valium and Ativan and sedative Versed, the filing said.

Jackson went to sleep after Murray gave him the propofol, and Murray stayed by his side for about 10 minutes, then left "to go to the restroom and relieve himself," the search warrant said.

Murray was out of Jackson's room for about two minutes and when he returned, Jackson was no longer breathing, the warrant said.

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Aug 24, 2009
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