Jackson's doctor jailed for four years

A judge has jailed Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray for the maximum four years, three weeks after he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the star's 2009 death.

He also said Murray should pay compensation to Jackson's family, although he made no ruling on a prosecution proposal for $100 million in restitution, putting off a decision on the amount until January.

"He has absolutely no sense of remorse,'' said judge Michael Pastor, after giving a scathing summary of the case against the 58-year-old doctor.

"There are those that feel that Dr Murray is a saint. There are those that feel that Dr Murray is the devil. He's neither. He's a human being. He stands convicted of the death of another human being,'' said Pastor.

But he said: "Michael Jackson died not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident. He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Dr Murray.''

The judge said he agreed that Murray should have to pay restitution to Jackson's estate and children, but said the amount would be decided at a later hearing - scheduled for January 23.

The prosecution had asked for Murray to pay $100 million to compensate Jackson's family for the lost earnings the singer would have made from a 50-show series of comeback concerts he was planning when he died.

Murray was found guilty on November 7 for giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009 at the star's plush Holmby Hills mansion. The drug was purportedly to help the singer fight chronic insomnia.

The physician admitted he had given the drug to the star for up to two months before his death.

"Dr Murray engaged in a recurring, continuous pattern of deceit, of lies,'' said the judge, notably listing Murray's assurances before Jackson's death that he was healthy, and his failure to tell paramedics what drugs he had given.

He lashed the "longstanding failure of character of Dr Murray to serve his patient,'' saying the doctor had told "unconscionable lies'' and practiced "horrible medicine'' by repeatedly giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol.

In a statement read in court before sentence was passed, Jackson's family said it was not seeking revenge.

"As Michael's parents we could never have imagined that we would live to witness his passing. It is simply against the natural order of things,'' said the statement read out by lawyer Brian Panish.

"As his brothers and sisters we will never be able to hold, laugh or perform again with our brother Michael. And as his children we will grow up without a father, our best friend, our playmate and our dad.''

Jackson, aged 50 at the time of his death, had hired Murray at a salary of $150,000 a month to look after him as he rehearsed and embarked on a series of "This is It'' planned comeback shows in London.

During the trial, the court heard a two-hour police interview with Murray in which he recounted the star's final days and hours, and claimed he found Jackson lifeless after leaving his bedside for only two minutes.

But it also heard evidence that Murray was on the phone with a series of girlfriends at the crucial time Jackson was on his deathbed, and that he delayed calling 911 and failed to tell paramedics what he had given the star.

Members of Jackson's family including siblings La Toya, Jermaine and Randy, were in the Los Angeles courtroom to hear the sentence for Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter on November 7.

La Toya Jackson tweeted beforehand that she hoped Murray got at least four years.

"Hoping that Murray gets what he deserve, THE MAXIMUM PLUS!!!!" she wrote on Twitter, while Randy Jackson gave a "V" for victory sign as he entered the court building.

Murray's mother Milta Rush had pleaded with the judge for leniency. "I am ... scared and worried sick about him being incarcerated .. He is saddened and remorseful about the death of his friend Michael Jackson.

"I do believe he is certainly learning the toughest lesson of his life," she wrote, in a letter published by celebrity website TMZ on Monday.

- AFP

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