Conrad Murray loses request to be released on bond

Story highlights

  • Conrad Murray is serving a four-year sentence in Michael Jackson's death
  • A judge rejects his request to set bond so that he can be freed pending his appeal
  • The Los Angeles judge says Murray is a flight risk
  • Murray's lawyers are appealing last year's conviction
Dr. Conrad Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, was denied bail Friday pending his appeal and ordered to continue serving his four-year sentence, a California judge ruled.
During a hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judge Michael Pastor, who presided over the physician's trial last year, said Murray poses a danger to society and is a flight risk.
"Dr. Murray's egregious conduct does concern me," Pastor said.
In particular, he referred to Murray's only public statements about his conduct, which aired in a television interview following his conviction.
During his trial, Murray gave a documentary crew access to his defense team, and he gave a series of interviews chronicling his relationship with Jackson. Pastor cited Murray's apparent lack of remorse over Jackson's death and admonished him for neglecting to acknowledge the dangers of administering propofol outside a hospital setting during those interviews.
Last year, a jury found Murray guilty of being responsible for Jackson's 2009 death. Prosecutors argued that Murray's reckless use of the surgical anesthetic propofol to help Jackson sleep led to his death, while the defense contended Jackson self-administered the fatal dose, along with sedatives, without Murray knowing.
"I did not tell Murray to give an interview for a television or documentary," Pastor said. "I was concerned over the attitude about the use of propofol in a home setting, and it scares me.
"This community demonstrated that Murray is a danger to other people," the judge said.
Murray was not present during Friday's hearing.
In deeming Murray a flight risk, the judge said Murray had no property or employment ties to California and expressed concern that Murray could flee to another country and continue practicing medicine.
"Dr. Murray does run a flight risk in view of his resources," said Pastor.
Defense attorney Michael Flanagan argued that Murray would never ponder the idea of becoming a fugitive or leave his family behind.
"Dr. Murray would be willing to subject to any conditions including an ankle bracelet or a GPS device," he said. "There is no place he can go."
Murray's four-year sentence, unless overturned on appeal, is expected to keep the doctor in jail for only two years because state rules give him credit for two days served for every one day behind bars.
Murray's appellate lawyer, Valerie Wass, is challenging Pastor's decision against sequestering the jury during his manslaughter trial, which was broadcast around the world.
Wass claims that widespread publicity was a substantial factor in Murray's conviction.
The judge said he was not persuaded by Murray's defense claim, nor did it meet the legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that sequestration would have changed the outcome.
"I have never heard of a case overturned based on failure to sequester," said Pastor.
Murray remains jailed in one of the nation's most crowded facilities. Wass said he is spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement at the Los Angeles County Jail.
"He is lucky to take a walk on the roof for one hour on Monday evenings," said Wass. "I visited him two days ago and he's lost about 30 to 40 pounds, but Dr. Murray is in good spirits."