Dr. Conrad Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the overdosing death of Michael Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 at age 50, of an overdose of the powerful anesthetic, propofol.
The testimony by people who were present at Michael Jackson’s mansion when he died – bodyguards, a cook and other aides – have described for the court elements of life in the Jackson home.
Skin Bleaching Creams
The manager and a pharmacist at a specialty pharmacy told jurors that Dr. Murray called him in the months before Michael Jackson’s death to ask about making a cream to treat people suffering from vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition where one’s skin loses pigmentation.
“He was looking for a specific dermatological agent that is used for whitening of the skin…He mentioned that a lot of his patients were African American and they could use the medication,” said Tim Lopez of Applied Pharmacy Services.
Michael Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in 1993 that he suffered from the condition, but denied that he bleached his skin.
Dr. Murray explained in a police interview that he would often rub Jackson’s body with cream to treat his vitiligo.
One of the oddest routines was the revelation that Michael Jackson wore a urinary catheter while sleeping.
“I recall seeing what appeared to be a plastic bag or some sort of medical device,” said bodyguard Alberto Alvarez who ran into Michael Jackson’s room when called on the day Michael Jackson died.
A coroner investigator also retrieved a jug of Michael Jackson‘s urine from the scene.
A witness from a pharmaceutical and medical supply company testified that Dr. Murray’s staff ordered numerous catheters and urine bags from them in the months before the singer died.
Dr. Richelle Cooper – emergency room attendant – told jurors that Dr. Murray said that the only regular medications that Michael Jackson took were Valium and Flomax. Flomax is typically used to treat someone suffering from a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate.
Beet Juice and Almond Milk For Breakfast
The personal chef of Michael Jackson and his three children – Kai Chase – said that the singer insisted that healthy food be served. He also wanted lunch served at 12:30 PM sharp.
“Typically, his breakfast would consist sometimes of granola with almond milk…beet juice or carrot orange juice or sometimes he would have an omelette, spinach or something with a lot of vegetables in it,” said Kai Chase.
In the months before he died, Michael Jackson had begun coming down less frequently for breakfast. Dr. Conrad Murray increasingly took Michael Jackson’s breakfast to him, Kai Chase told jurors.
On the day Michael Jackson died of a drug overdose, Kai Chase had prepared granola and almond milk for the singer and had made some of his favorite juices. When she arrived to work that day, she’d noticed that a Tuscan white bean soup she’d made for him the night before to eat after he finished rehearsing for his grueling comeback tour, This Is It, was still in the fridge uneaten.
Despite his emphasis on healthy food, Michael Jackson‘s frame was so thin, paramedic Richard Senneff said he could see Jackson’s ribs and his thin frame made him at first think the singer was suffering from a chronic illness.
Michael Jackson had a cell phone and just a few people knew his number. There was no landline in the Jackson home. When people wanted to get in touch with the singer, they often went through Michael Amir Williams. Those who worked with Michael Jackson often said they would meet with the singer personally rather than call him.
Michael Jackson was so private that his staff rarely ventured into his second floor living quarters. Even Michael Amir Williams, his personal assistant, only went upstairs if summoned.
“He liked his privacy and we respected that… I went upstairs when asked. He may ask me to help set something up” Michael Amir Williams said.
A security trailer was adjacent to the home where Michael Jackson’s security guards stayed unless called into the house. His assistant often hung in the trailer too.
Travel Like a President
Protecting the notoriously reclusive Michael Jackson’s privacy meant that his security team had to case routes and locations before the singer would leave the house. If Michael Jackson wanted to go shopping, his bodyguard would visit the stores beforehand.
“He would usually give me instructions as to what he wanted to buy or what he wanted to go shopping for. He would ask me to go look for certain stores…look for the stores that had the items that he would look for,” Alberto Alvarez said.
Even getting to rehearsal at the Staples Center for his This Is It tour required three cars and a lot of preparation, witnesses testified. Michael Jackson’s personal assistant, Michael Amir Williams, said:
“We would have an advanced vehicle who would go before us, make sure…we take the proper route…make sure everything is set up, make sure there’s a safe entrance” . “Mr. Jackson would be in the principal vehicle with a trail vehicle behind it.”
The advanced team would make certain a golf cart was ready to greet Michael Jackson in the underground parking lot and that his dressing room was as he liked it, including having the thermostat set high.
“I would make sure that everything that he is accustomed to is in place,” Alberto Alvarez said. “He liked a warm setting.”
Oxygen Tanks in the Bedroom
Other clues about Michael Jackson‘s health revealed during the trial include his use of oxygen tanks.
Several witnesses have testified about the presence of oxygen tanks in Jackson’s rented mansion. An empty oxygen tank was in Michael Jackson’s bedroom when he died.
Two members of Michael Jackson‘s security team testified that Dr. Conrad Murray would roll empty tanks to the security trailer adjacent to the home and await the delivery of full tanks.
Alvarez told jurors that a sign on the tanks read, “please remember to take the oxygen tanks every Friday as soon as place opens”.
Michael Jackson’s Many Aliases
Michael Jackson was called MJ and the king of pop by his fans. He was taunted in the press as Wacko Jacko and toyed publicly with the persona of being a modern day Peter Pan, famously calling his home Neverland.
In death, the world has learned that when it came to getting prescription drugs, Michael Jackson went by several aliases.
Stephen Marx, a forensic computer examiner with the Drug Enforcement Agency, testified that emails from a Dr. Conrad Murray staffer included medical records for an “Omar Arnold” and a MRI for a patient called “Paul Farance.” Prescriptions bottles found in Michael Jackson’s bedroom were also made for a “Mick Jackson”.