Jackson Doctor Could Face Harsher Jail Stint

Greg Milam, US correspondent
Murray To Appeal Jail Term Over Jackson Death

Prosecutors in Los Angeles are preparing a legal fight to have Dr Conrad Murray sent to higher category prison for killing Michael Jackson.

District Attorney Steve Cooley says he is considering an appeal after Murray was ordered to serve his sentence for involuntary manslaughter in a county jail.

That is the result of a new law in California which keeps those convicted of certain non-violent offences out of the state's over-crowded prison system. They would usually expect to serve half of their sentence.

Mr Cooley is angry that Murray might serve less than two years of the four-year sentence handed to him.

Murray had been convicted earlier this month of killing Jackson through criminal negligence, giving him a dose of the hospital anaesthetic propofol and failing to monitor him properly or raise the alarm quickly enough.

Murray had been hired by Jackson for his comeback shows in London but had pressured the doctor to find ways to help him sleep during the rehearsal period.

Judge Michael Pastor was withering in his condemnation of Murray.

He said: "Dr Murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine. One can't help but to be offended by the circumstances of this case."

He was also critical of the doctor's participation in the television documentary in which Murray said he felt 'entrapped' by Jackson and blamed the star for his own death.

The judge said: "Yipes! Talk about blaming the victim. Not only isn't there any remorse, there's umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr Murray against the decedent."

Murray's lawyers were furious at some of the judge's comments, calling him "openly hostile", and are preparing their own appeal.

Jackson's estate issued a statement praising the sentence. 

It said: "The egregious conduct of Dr Murray when 'treating' Michael Jackson was bad enough but when coupled with his outrageous lies in trying to cover up his wrongdoing after Michael was dying and/or had died only served to magnify his criminal actions."

British fans of the star have also welcomed it.

Lawson Slater, from Wolverhampton, flew to Los Angeles for the hearing. 

He told Sky News: "I think for what Conrad Murray was charged with it is good that he got the full sentence.

"I think the evidence showed that he was guilty of negligence and I think it is all the fans could have hoped for.

"But for causing the death of Michael Jackson this sentence is not long enough."

He said many fans had wanted Murray to be charged with a more serious offence but that that "would have been very difficult to prove".

He said: "Conrad was under pressure, I don't believe he wanted to kill Michael Jackson, I believe it was an accident, but we will never know."

Jackson supporters are expected to converge on Las Vegas as the weekend for a 'fan-fest' featuring many of the star's family. It is the first time they have attended the event and is expected to form a tribute to him.

The court still has to decide how much Murray should have to pay by way of restitution.

Prosecutors want \$100m (£64m) in lost revenue from Jackson's comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena and \$1.8m (£1.15m) in funeral and burial costs.

A hearing will be held within the next four months although both sides agreed it would be impossible for Murray to repay that amount.