I hate to call it this early, but Conrad Murray is going down. It's not because it's nearly impossible to seat an unbiased jury that doesn't have intense adoration for Michael Jackson. It's not because of a potential mob mentality that someone has to pay for the pop star's death. The reason guilt is written all over this eventual verdict is because a doctor allegedly administered a powerful anesthetic, meant to be utilized in a monitored, staffed hospital operating room, in a man's bedroom.
Regular folks have anxiety as they are about to be wheeled into a hospital operating room for surgery whether they are going to wake up from the anesthesia. We have all heard the nightmare news stories of people who have had fatal, adverse reactions on the table. The thought that a licensed physician was purportedly administering anesthesia as a sleep aid speaks to a level of recklessness for human life that smacks of lawlessness. Dr. Murray's life is in shambles as he awaits judgment by his peers because he lacked the character to just say "no" to Michael Jackson.
The defense will be focusing on the argument that Michael Jackson was a serious drug addict and he self-administered the lethal dose of propofol. They will attempt to establish a history of behaviors by Jackson that show the singer would do anything possible to feed his insatiable addiction. But at the end of this case, I don't think any of that will matter. Unless the defense had a witness to testify that they watched Michael Jackson administer his own fatal dose, I don't think the jury will buy it. Such a witness doesn't seem to exist or the prosecution would have addressed that fact immediately in its opening statement. And there are no fingerprints of Jackson's to be found on the bottles of propofol. What will be proved is that Conrad Murray mail ordered vials and vials of an anesthetic that had no place in the home treatment of his patient. The existence and use of propofol in Jackson's home under Murray's watch is this trial's smoking gun.
Don't get me wrong. I feel sorry for the doctor. It's a separate emotion from the sympathy I feel for Michael Jackson who lost his life, and his children, who lost their father. I feel sorry for Murray because, despite his flawed behavior as a trusted physician, his life as he knew it is essentially over. If he goes to jail, he will live the rest of his life as a tortured soul after that experience. If he is acquitted, which would mean he didn't break the law, but merely practiced medicine poorly, he will likely be subject to continued death threats from Michael Jackson's fans for a long time to come and be shunned as a physician. And with either outcome, he'll very likely lose his license to practice medicine.
Some may say that's a just price to pay for a man in his shoes. But it's unlikely he could ever have predicted the wrong turn his life would take just by accepting a high-paid job with the King of Pop. In the end, Murray is a human being who made a grave mistake that ended with his patient dying on his watch. That doesn't make him a bad person, just a bad doctor. No one can rightly believe that Conrad Murray wished the harm that occurred to Michael Jackson on his last day on earth. But, we can reasonably wish that Dr. Murray had had a stronger character and confidence to let Michael Jackson know that it was he, the physician, who was going to call the shots.
Stacy Schneider is the author of He Had It Coming: How to Outsmart Your Husband and Win Your Divorce. www.HeHadItComingBook.com