Many fans were shocked to see the Michael Jackson trial open on Tuesday morning with a photo of the pop star’s dead body on full display both in the courtroom, and on television screens around the globe. The Michael Jackson death photo was used by the lead prosecutor in his opening statements in the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, who treated Jackson from April 2009 until Jackson’s death.
Dr. Conrad Murray is being accused of causing Jackson’s June 2009 death with his “unskilled hand” and alleged gross neglect. Murray faces four years behind bars if convicted of the single count of involuntary manslaughter brought by the state.
Michael Jackson Death Photo Used In Opening Statement
The prosecution used the Michael Jackson death photo (seen here on video) to illustrate to the jury that though the pop star was able-bodied and alert in rehearsal photos taken the week of his death, he lay dead on a hospital bed by week’s end.
Besides displaying the Michael Jackson death photo, the prosecution also played a very disturbing, Anna-Nicole-esque audio recording of Michael Jackson. In the recording, which was allegedly recorded by Dr. Conrad Murray on his iPhone in May 2009, Jackson was obviously under the heavy influence of what the lead prosecutor called “an unknown agent”.
In the month immediately preceeding the recording and in the five or six weeks immediately following it, the prosecution claims (and can show documentation and evidence for these claims), that Dr. Murray ordered 155,000 mgs of Propofol in addition to large quantities of numerous other substances.
Michael Jackson Trial: Prosecution Opening Statement
In the roughly two months that Dr. Conrad Murray treated Michael Jackson, the doctor admitted to police that he administered Propofol and other drugs bedside at Jackson’s home on a nightly basis, and his sole mission was to “put Michael to sleep”. He was being paid $150,000 a month to do so. Murray’s treatment of Jackson came to an abrupt end when the doctor returned from “briefly stepping away for two minutes” to find his patient laying dead in his bedroom on June 25, 2009.
Ultimately, it took hours for Jackson, 50, to be officially pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at UCLA Medical Center after being transported from his home, though most agree he was already dead when Murray found him. The autopsy revealed “acute Propofol intoxication”, with at least one other drug allegedly administered by Murray contributing to the death. In the now-public Michael Jackson death photo that was shown in court Tuesday, Jackson is seen in a hospital bed, presumedly at UCLA. See the photo as part of the ABC.com video here.
CNN televised coverage – day one of the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death. (9/27/2011)
ABC News – video clip