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Conrad Murray Trial: These Are No Ordinary Jurors

Michael Jackson Doctor Trial

First Posted: 11/07/11 09:17 AM ET Updated: 11/07/11 09:25 AM ET

LINDA DEUTSCH, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- The seven men and five women who hold the fate of Michael Jackson's doctor in their hands are a diverse cross-section of Los Angeles, people of varying ethnicities from different towns who might never have met if they had not been thrown together in the jury pool.

They are white, black and Hispanic, mostly middle-aged and live in an assortment of suburbs in the Los Angeles urban sprawl. Most have children and some have grandchildren.

They include a professor, postman, bus driver, actor and movie animation supervisor.

The panel is set to resume deliberations Monday after spending their first day in discussions Friday without reaching a verdict.

Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors accused him of administering a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol to the King of Pop.

The jurors, who have been engaged by all the details of the case, will likely be methodical in their deliberations.

Nine of them have prior jury experience and one woman, a native of Spain, has served on five juries, all of which reached verdicts. She was once a jury forewoman.

A woman who has worked as a paralegal for 30 years is serving on her first jury and appeared enthralled.

They knew about the involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray before they came to court and most of them know Jackson's music. A few said they were fans and one, the video animation specialist, said he had some interaction with Jackson when the singer was making the video, "Captain EO."

Details about their lives were culled from lengthy written questionnaires obtained by The Associated Press. Their identities have been kept secret and even lawyers in the case know them only by their jury numbers.

In six weeks together the jurors have displayed uncommon attentiveness to the task at hand. Several, including alternates, have taken notes and kept lists of evidence. Once, when the judge was at a loss to find the number of an exhibit, a member of the jury spoke up and told him.

There were no drooping eyelids or distracted glances. When a scientific expert was conducting experiments on the floor of the courtroom, panelists stood up in the jury box to get a better view.

Their attention to evidence and witnesses has impressed Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who commended them for their commitment, punctuality in getting to court and willingness to give up their personal lives to serve.

When the trial went longer than Pastor had predicted, he apologized, but the jurors seemed unperturbed.

Every night, when he gave them an admonition to avoid the news, the Internet and other sources of information about the trial, they listened as if it was the first time they had heard it and they nodded in agreement.

Many of the panelists have a familiarity with prescription drugs; most of them said they trust their doctors and several believe that celebrities receive a different kind of justice than average people.

Some have learned about the justice system from TV, watching such shows as "Law and Order" and "CSI." Others watched broadcasts of real-life, high-profile trials including the Casey Anthony case and the O.J. Simpson trial.

One woman, an accounting manager, remembered that during the Simpson trial, "a TV was brought to the office for everyone to follow it." A man in his 30s said he followed that trial in school as an educational experience.

While not sequestered, the jurors have had a rare opportunity to bond because they were kept together for lunch and transported together between a secret parking lot and the courthouse. In order to avoid exposure to events outside the courtroom, the judge had lunch catered for them every day.

But during lunches and coffee breaks there was one thing they could not discuss - the trial. Now, in a secluded jury room, they can give each other their opinions as they try to reach a verdict.

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |