It’s official: The Los Angeles County coroner announced on Friday that Michael Jackson’s death has been ruled a homicide.
According to the coroner’s report, the singer suffered from “acute propofol intoxication.” Other drugs detected in his system included lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam, diazepam (Valium), lidocaine (an anesthetic), and ephedrine.
Dr. Conrad Murray – Jackson’s personal physician who admitted to police that he had given the singer drugs to sleep – maintains his innocence. His attorney Ed Chernoff issued a statement Friday afternoon saying that the coroner’s report was “nothing new.”
“This has all the earmarks of police gamesmanship, and we will not be responding until we get a full autopsy report, including the entire list of drugs found in Mr. Jackson, their quantities, and all other data that would allow independent medical experts to analyze and interpret,” the statement said.
The homicide finding – meaning death at the hands of another – is only one of five rulings a coroner can make in a death investigation. Among the others: natural, suicide, accident, and “could not be determined.”
The Jackson family issued a statement after the report was released, praising authorities for their work. “The Jackson family again wishes to commend the actions of the Coroner, the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies, and looks forward to the day that justice can be served,” the statement said.
According to unsealed search warrants, Murray told LAPD detectives that he had been treating the singer for insomnia for about six weeks, and had been giving Jackson 50 milligrams of propofol every night intravenously. Jackson referred to propofol, a cloudy white fluid, as his “milk,” according to the affidavit.
But Murray told police he was worried Jackson was becoming addicted to the powerful anesthetic and tried to ease him off it. But on the morning of Jackson’s death on June 25, Murray told authorities that after repeated demands from the singer to give him propofol, the doctor gave in and administered 25 milligrams of propofol diluted with lidocaine to keep him sedated.
Minutes after giving him the drug, Murray found Jackson not breathing. The singer, 50, was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center.
LAPD had no comment on Friday regarding the coroner’s ruling.