Michael Jackson's mom says Murray deserves max

Nov. 29, 2011 at 4:30 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Dr. Conrad Murray deserves the maximum prison term for involuntary manslaughter, Michael Jackson's mother said ahead of Murray's sentencing in Los Angeles.

"I don't believe that he intended for Michael to die," Katherine Jackson told CNN Monday. "He was just taking a chance."

A jury found Murray guilty Nov. 7 of involuntary manslaughter for giving the pop icon the surgery-strength hypnotic agent propofol as an intravenous sleep aid in a private setting without proper monitoring or resuscitation equipment. The verdict -- nearly 2 1/2 years after Jackson's June 25, 2009, death at age 50 -- came after nearly 50 witnesses, 22 days of testimony and less than two days of deliberation.

The trial focused mostly on whether Murray had abdicated his medical duties or acted with reckless criminal negligence, directly causing Jackson's death.

Katherine Jackson told CNN she and several of her children would be in court for the sentencing. But she said the singer's children -- Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., commonly known as Prince; Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson; and Prince Michael Jackson II, nicknamed Blanket -- will be in school.

She said she was uncertain whether any Jackson family member would speak in court, but said she was interviewed by a probation officer who promised to include her thoughts in a report to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor that carries a sentencing recommendation.

The report will become public after Murray is sentenced.

Murray's elderly mother, Milta Rush, wrote a letter to the judge asking for mercy, saying her son's "compassion and his soft heartedness for others led to this dilemma."

Murray, a Houston cardiologist, was paid $150,000 a month to work as Jackson's personal physician as the singer rehearsed in Los Angeles for "This Is It," a series of 50 sold-out concerts in London that would have helped him pay hundreds of millions of dollars in mounting debt.

Testimony showed Murray had stayed with Jackson at least six nights a week and was regularly asked -- and sometimes begged -- by the insomniac singer to give him drugs powerful enough to put him to sleep.

The morning Jackson died, Murray told investigators in a recording played during the trial the singer told him, "Just make me sleep -- it doesn't matter what happens."

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum four years behind bars for Murray and want him to pay more than $100 million in restitution to Jackson's children. He could lose his license to practice medicine.

Defense lawyers want probation and community service, not prison time. They contend Murray has no prior criminal record and will spend the rest of his life in a personal prison of grief, shame and self-punishment.

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