Dr. Steven Shafer says Murray was administering the drug as the singer died

By Howard Breuer
October 21, 2011 06:45 AM
Houston Chronicle/AP; Globe

Dr. Conrad Murray gave Michael Jackson higher dosages of drugs than he told detectives, and apparently had the anesthetic propofol still trickling into Jackson’s veins as his heart stopped beating, the prosecution’s star witness told jurors Thursday.

Jackson “died – but he’s died with the infusion running,” Dr. Steven Shafer testified.

Throughout the day, Shafer used charts and demonstrations to emphasize the implausibility of defense suggestions that Jackson gave himself an overdose of propofol or the sedative Lorazepam – both of which were measured by the coroner in greater quantities than Murray said he gave.

RELATED: Conrad Murray Was Clueless, Harmful to Michael Jackson: Expert

Shafer said you can’t drink yourself to death or even to sleep with propofol, which he says he proved with a study in which six people liberally drank the milky liquid and were unaffected. He said orally consumed propofol is metabolized by the liver before it reaches the blood, so it must be injected.

Instead, Shafer concluded, Murray infused a full helping of one of the dozens of 100-ml. propofol bottles that he was having shipped in bulk to his girlfriend’s Santa Monica apartment – or about 1,000 mg. of the drug. Murray told detectives he administered only 25 mg., and didn’t tell paramedics or emergency room doctors about propofol at all.

Then, Shafer says, Murray took his eyes off Jackson more than long enough to miss seeing Jackson’s lungs become depleted and his heart stop beating. Phone records and testimony suggest Murray was on the phone while this happened.

“Had Conrad Murray been with Michael Jackson during this period of time, he would have seen the slowed breathing and the compromise in the flow of air into Michael Jackson’s lungs, and he could have easily turned off the propofol infusion,” Shafer says.

RELATED: Michael Jackson’s Plea to Doctor: ‘Please, Please’ Give Me Propofol

After nearly four weeks of trial, spectators, legal pundits and fans suggest the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has secured an involuntary manslaughter conviction against Murray. Fans applauded the prosecution team as it entered the courtroom Thursday morning.

However, the defense is expected to begin presenting its own witnesses as soon as Friday – including its own anesthesia expert, Dr. Paul White, a longtime colleague of Shafer’s.