The official cause of Michael Jackson’s death: Acute Propofol Intoxication. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office released the final autopsy report and issued a final determination of manner of death as homicide in the case of Michael Jackson’s death on Friday. The final autopsy report came over two months after the preliminary autopsy report was released the day after Michael Jackson’s death on June 25. After a three-hour autopsy, the Coroner’s Office refused to report a determination on the cause of death at the time, or whether it was homicide or accidental, noting only that Michael Jackson had died as a result of cardiac arrest. What caused the singer’s heart to stop beating was left for later determination, pending results of several postmortem tests ordered, including a battery of toxicology tests. Although it was immediately speculated that Michael Jackson died of a drug overdose, it was not at first clear if drugs had actually been involved in his death or if it was a homicide.
From the Coroner’s Office news release on the official autopsy report: “The drugs propofol and lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson’s death. Other drugs detected were: midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine and ephedrine.”
“Other conditions contributing to death: Benzodiazepine effect.” Benzodiazepines are used to treat insomnia and anxiety and work by slowing down the workings of the central nervous system. The Benzodiazepine effect occurred with the combination of midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine, and ephedrine.
All of the drugs found in Michael Jackson’s body were there to calm, relieve tension, or depress his system, creating a dangerous and apparently fatal cocktail.
Even with the Coroner’s report, the official announcement of cause and manner of death does not mean that the public will be allowed to see Michael Jackson’s full final autopsy report. The autopsy report “will remain on security hold at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County district attorney.”
The most common theory at first was that Michael Jackson had died of an overdose of Demerol, a substance he was known to have been addicted to at one time and for which he had sought help in a rehabilitation clinic. The Jackson family members stated in interview after interview that they had no idea that Michael had regressed to using drugs again. Speculation grew so intense in the days following Michael Jackson’s death and autopsy that he overdosed and/or was killed, the family ordered an independent autopsy conducted. Results from the family’s autopsy have not been made public but the Jackson family has issued several statements that they have confidence in the Los Angeles Polices Department’s investigation into the matter.
The family issued a statement shortly after the Coroner’s Office announcement:
“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.”
CNN reported that the Coroner’s Office’s official autopsy report had actually been completed a couple weeks before but they had withheld making it public at the request of the LAPD so as not to hamper their investigation. Websites like TMZ posted articles using various anonymous sources in the last few weeks who claimed to have information as to what was actually included in the final autopsy report, such as the manner of death — homicide — and the cause of death — Propofol as a contributing factor.
And they were right.
What does the Michael Jackson Coroner’s report on the final autopsy mean?
Ruling that the manner of death was homicide places the next step in the hands of the prosecutors and the police. If the police have gathered enough evidence (or may be in the process of gathering enough evidence), then it will be up to the district attorney’s office to determine if enough evidence exists to seek a conviction. If so, they will proceed to trial. If not, the doctors involved in administering health care and medication to Michael Jackson will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
But they might not want to feel relief just yet. Simply because a criminal case isn’t brought against the many doctors who seem to be directly and tangentially involved in the Michael Jackson situation does not mean that civil litigation will not be brought against one or more of the doctors. Nor does it mean that they will not receive official censure, suspension, or revocation of their medical licenses.
Dr. Conrad Murray emerged as not only the most likely of the doctors to be blamed for Michael Jackson’s death because of his proximity to Jackson on the night and day of his death but was also found to have motive for doing whatever Michael Jackson required of him, including something as dangerous and medically questionable as administering Propofol outside of a hospital setting. Not only was Dr. Conrad Murray the last person to see Michael Jackson alive, he was one of the last individuals who attempted to revive Jackson. And that he owed millions was incentive enough for Conrad Murray to do whatever Michael Jackson wanted — including giving him Propofol — in order for Murray to continue receiving his salary.
With the final autopsy report determining that the manner of death was homicide, there is little doubt that the L. A. County District Attorney’s office will at least seek some form of manslaughter or negligent homicide charges against Conrad Murray. Stating that they have insufficient evidence to prosecute someone in this case will not be looked upon favorably. Why? Because Michael Jackson was much beloved, he was killed, and people — among them movers and shakers — will demand that someone pay.
Unfortunately for Dr. Conrad Murray, most of the evidence points to him as having participated in the causative acts that contributed to the death of Michael Jackson.