LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson, desperate for sleep, warned a doctor on the day he died that he would have to cancel his comeback concerts unless he received a dose of “his milk” — the powerful anesthetic propofol, according to testimony from the lead detective in the case against Jackson’s doctor.
As a result, Dr. Conrad Murray yielded and gave the singer a dose of propofol after a night of administering lesser drugs, Detective Orlando Martinez said.
Prosecutors said the combination of drugs was lethal and filed an involuntary manslaughter charge against Murray, who has pleaded not guilty.
Martinez, who interviewed Murray two days after Jackson’s death, gave a chilling step-by-step account at Murray’s preliminary hearing, saying the pop star lay dying while Murray administered CPR but didn’t call 911.
Martinez, who spent nearly three hours interviewing Murray in the presence of his lawyers, said Murray told him he had been giving Jackson doses of propofol six nights a week for two months but was trying to wean him from the drug after becoming afraid his patient was becoming addicted.
The detective said Jackson came home from rehearsal abut 1 a.m. on June 25, 2009, showered and got into bed. Murray said he immediately connected an intravenous tube to the singer’s leg and began giving him sedatives, according to Martinez.
The doctor said that began a night of continuous efforts to get the star to sleep. He told police he gave him the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam intravenously and supplied a valium pill, but nothing worked.
At 3:30 a.m. he said, Jackson fell asleep for about 10 minutes but then was awake again and complaining that if he didn’t get sleep he would have to cancel his much-anticipated “This is It” tour, the detective said.
Murray spoke of feeling pressure to get Jackson to sleep and sometime between 10:40 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. gave him half his usual 50 milligram dose of propofol, Martinez said.
He said Jackson fell asleep about 11 a.m. and Murray felt comfortable enough to leave the room and go to the bathroom. He told the detective he was out of the room for two minutes and “was stunned to see Mr. Jackson not breathing” when he returned.
Murray told police he started CPR through chest compressions then gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but did not consider calling 911.
“He said he was caring for his patient and did not want to neglect him,” Martinez said.
Phone records show 911 was not called until 12:21 p.m., and prosecutors contend the singer was dead before help arrived.
Murray’s attorney Ed Chernoff asked Martinez if Murray had spoken of Jackson asking to self-administer propofol. He answered yes.
“Mr. Jackson knew all about propofol before Dr. Murray came on the scene?” asked Chernoff.
“Yes,” said Martinez.
The detective was asked if Jackson had sought to “push the propofol” himself and he said that was correct.
“Michael Jackson told Dr. Murray he liked to push it in himself and other doctors let him do that?” Chernoff asked.
“Yes,” sad the witness.
“And Dr. Murray said he wouldn’t let him do that?” Chernoff asked.
“Correct,” answered the witness.
Defense lawyers have presented little evidence during the hearing to decide if Murray should stand trial. Prosecutors have said they believe the defense will contend Jackson administered more propofol himself on the fateful day, leading to his death.
Earlier testimony by a pharmacist showed Murray purchased 255 vials of propofol during the three months before the singer died.
Murray bought 130 vials of propofol in 100-milliliter doses and another 125 vials in the smaller dose of 20 milliliters, said Tim Lopez, owner of Applied Pharmacy Services in Las Vegas, where Murray has a clinic.
The four shipments of propofol were purchased between April 6 and June 10, 2009, with most of the drugs shipped to the Santa Monica home of Murray’s girlfriend, testimony showed.
Murray could face up to four years in prison if tried and convicted.