The trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician

Jacko Coroner: Homicide by Propofol

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Thursday, Sep 8, 2011  |  Updated 12:49 PM PDT
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The LA County coroner releases its official cause of death in the Jackson case.

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The LA County coroner Friday cited "acute propofol intoxication" as the official cause of Michael Jackson's death.

The coroner's office released its official findings Friday.

"The drugs propofol and lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson's death," according to a news release issued Friday morning from the coroner's office. "Other drugs detected were: Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine and Ephedrine."

The final coroner's report, which includes the toxicology results, will remain on a security hold requested by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

The official announcement Friday morning comes after Monday's ruling by the coroner's office that Jackson's death was a homicide.

It follows a series of developments in the case Thursday when several media outlets asked to unseal four search warrants Los Angeles police detectives served in the early days of the Jackson death probe. The judge ordered two of the documents to remain sealed.

The unsealed warrants provide a glimpse into how police were directing their investigation immediately after Jackson's death.

The warrant served at his rented Bel-Air mansion the day after he died lists "PC 187," the California penal code for murder, in the box labeled "probable crime."

That warrant states family members told a coroner's official "they had located a quantity of tar heroin in a bag in the decedent's bedroom," though the person with knowledge of tests on the substance said heroin was quickly ruled out. The person was not authorized to speak to the media and asked for anonymity, according to The Associated Press.

Detectives also secured a search warrant for the car of Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician with Jackson when he died. The affidavit states detectives spoke to Murray in the hospital after the singer's death but he only gave a short summary of what had happened then left the hospital over detectives' objections.

Jackson died June 25 after becoming unconscious at his Holmby Hills mansion.

In the intervening two months, investigators have pieced together a much fuller picture of how Jackson died and Murray has emerged as the central figure in a manslaughter probe. Investigators believe he was negligent in administering the powerful anesthetic propofol and other sedatives to Jackson and that those drugs killed the singer.

Murray told police he gave Jackson propofol the morning of June 25 after a series of sedatives failed to help Jackson sleep.

Dateline NBC's Josh Mankiewicz confirmed earlier this week that Murray is the target of the Los Angeles Police Department's manslaughter probe.

Murray told detectives that he was treating Jackson for insomnia.

Murray's attorney Edward Chernoff has said Murray never administered anything that "should have" killed Jackson.

Just after the coroner's announcement Friday, Los Angeles police issued their own news release. It stated that the department, the lead investigative agency, met Aug. 20 with the U.S. and California departments of justice, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Based on that meeting and at the request of the LAPD, the DEA an BNE have initiated their own independent investigation into matters than the LAPD's investigation uncovered that may not be directly related to the cause of death."

Chernoff issued the following statement in response to Friday's announcement by the coroner's office that Jackson's death had been ruled a homicide:

"This press release contains nothing new. For two months we have been hearing the same information, usually from leaks out of the coroner's office. One has to wonder why the coroner felt compelled to release anything at all if the police investigation is not yet complete.

"In any case, 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."

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