Conrad Murray trial: Michael Jackson's doctor's girlfriend mentions packages, pharmacist cites propofol orders
Conrad Murray's girlfriend Nicole Alvarez, the mother of his son, says that during the months before Michael Jackson's death, the doctor ordered packages to be delivered to her apartment, while prosecutors have said they contained propofol meant to be used on the King of Pop.
Alvarez, a 29-year-old actress, spoke at Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial on October 4. The doctor served as Jackson's personal physician in the months prior to his death on June 25, 2009. At that time, he was also married to another woman.
NOTE: You can watch the proceedings online: OnTheRedCarpet.com is hosting a LIVE STREAM of the Conrad Murray trial, which began on September 27.
Meanwhile, a pharmacist in Las Vegas, where the doctor kept a clinic, said Murray had ordered from him 255 vials of propofol, anti-anxiety drugs, tubes of the skin whitening cream Benoquin and saline IV bags, but did not disclose Jackson's name or the identities of any other patients to him.
Autopsy results have shown that Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of propofol, an anesthetic that he called his "milk," and other sedatives. Murray, 58, has said he gave the singer a dose of propofol as a sleeping aid on the day he died. He has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Murray faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted. The doctor's lawyers maintain that Jackson drank propofol and consumed other medications on his own while the doctor was away from his bedside at the singer's Los Angeles home, that the dose of propofol Murray had administered was too low to be fatal and that he was trying to wean him off the drug.
Alvarez said the doctor lived with her in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles, and paid her rent. She said he often traveled to work at his medical offices in Houston and Texas and never mentioned treating patients in California, other than Jackson. Prosecutors say Murray did not maintain an office in the state.
Alvarez confirmed that between April and June 2009, packages addressed to Murray were delivered to her address. She said she never asked him what was inside the boxes, which were usually taken to her apartment. She said she would typically have to sign for them, but that they were sometimes left in the lobby.
"(Murray said he) was going to be receiving something, that if there was a knock at the door there was going to be a delivery, that I could retrieve it for him," Alvarez said. "I would always check the lobby to see if there was anything for myself or Conrad. I do recall picking up a package in the lobby area."
Tim Lopez, who owned and managed a "specialty" pharmacy in Las Vegas, testified that Murray contacted him for the first time in November 2008 about acquiring tubes of the skin whitening cream Benoquin. He said the doctor said the medication was for his "many African American patients" who suffered from vitiligo. Lopez said Murray did not mention any names. He said the doctor placed an order for 40 30g tubes of the cream in March 2009.
Lopez said Murray picked them up in person at the pharmacy and then inquired about having them delivered to his Las Vegas office. He said that on April 3, 2009, the doctor called and said he was "happy" with the results of the cream and also "asked me specifically to find pricing and availability of propofol and normal saline IV bags."
Lopez said that to his knowledge, his pharmacy had never sold propofol before. He said that three days later, Murray made his first order of the drug - requesting 35 vials, - including 10 containing 100 ml and 25 containing 20 ml, more tubes of Benoquin and 9 saline IV bags and had the products delivered overnight via Federal Express. They arrived at his Las Vegas office the following day.
Lopez said that when the courier arrived there, Murray took him to a back room and removed several propofol vials from the box. The doctor, Lopez said, "had the courier call me at my office. Dr. Murray, speaking through the courier to me, (asked) if we can mail the rest of the shipment to his other office in Los Angeles. He read the address through my courier and it was an address in Santa Monica."
The place in question was Alvarez's apartment, prosecutors say. One of Murray's lawyers asked him if medications must be shipped to a clinic or an office, to which Lopez said he knew of no such official regulation, but that due to the "nature of the medicine," he would sent such drugs only to such locations.
Jackson, who was born to a black family but has appeared white since the mid-1980s, suffered from vitiligo, which causes parts of the skin to appear discolored.
The singer's assistant, Michael Amir Williams, had testified on September 28 that while he was waiting at the hospital before Jackson was pronounced dead, Murray asked that he be driven to Jackson's home to retrieve a "cream" in the singer's room "that he wouldn't want the world to know about." Search warrants have showed that 30 tubes of skin whitening cream were found at Jackson's home after his death.
Jackson had confirmed that he had vitiligo but has never talked about using such products.
Receipts from similar orders made by Murray, sent to the Santa Monica address, were shown, ranging from April to June 15, 2009. Along with additional vials of propofol, the doctor also ordered containers of the injectable anti-anxiety drugs Lorazepam and Midazolam, as well as Lidocaine cream, an anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drug often used to numb an injection area, to be sent there as well.
Prosecutors say that between April and June 2009, Conrad Murray ordered 255 vials of propofol, equalling 155,000 total mg, or 15.5 litres or 4.09 gallons. Lopez confirmed the number of vials ordered. He also confirmed that Murray ordered from him 20 vials of Lorazepam and 60 vials of Midazolam.
MURRAY CALLED GIRLFRIEND FROM AMBULANCE
Alvarez said that beginning in about March 2009, months before the singer's death, Murray left almost every night around 9 p.m. to treat the singer at his house and return in the morning, between 6 and 8 a.m. The doctor has said he would administer drugs to help the singer, who suffered from insomnia, sleep and added that he was exhausted from his rehearsals for his upcoming London tour.
Prior to his death, the singer was preparing for a 50-show residency at the city's O2 arena. Murray was set to be paid $150,000 a month to become his doctor and accompany him on the tour. Alvarez said she was preparing to travel with the doctor.
She said she did not recall saying in a previous testimony that Murray's contract was faxed to her home, adding: "If it was in the fax machine it was in the fax machine. "I'm not his secretary or his assistant."
Alvarez said Murray sometimes brought her to Jackson's home, adding: "Michael Jackson was very interested in the baby. He saw my stomach grow with the pregnancy and he wanted to schedule visits so he could see my son."
Sources close to the investigation of the singer's death say that none of the fingerprints found in the bedroom or in Murray's possession belonged to Jackson, which may deal a blow to the doctor's lawyers' theory about the singer consumed extra propofol secretly, ABC News reported on Tuesday, October 4.
Associates of the singer have testified that on the day of Jackson's death, they saw Murray attempting to revive the singer in a bedroom in his home before paramedics arrived. Two EMTS and two doctors have testified that Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest and showed no signs of life.
Murray insisted that Jackson be taken to UCLA Medical Center, even after one of the paramedics was told over the phone by one of the facility's doctors to pronounce the singer dead at his home. Jackson arrived at the hospital 1:13 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. on June 25, 2009.
"Mr. Jackson was my patient and I didn't really have an explanation for why he was dead," emergency room doctor Richelle Cooper said on Monday. "In my mind it was a coroner's case."
Thao Nguyen, a cardiologist, said Murray asked doctors to "not give up easily" in their attempts to revive the singer. She also said Murray was unable to tell her much time had passed between the moment he discovered Jackson in a bedroom in his home, not breathing, and the time 911 was called, adding: "He said he did not have any concept of time, he did not have a watch."
Murray rode in the ambulance that carried Jackson to the hospital and a paramedic had said that he made a cell phone call. Phone records shown to the jury on Tuesday showed that Murray called Alvarez's home number at 1:08 p.m. that day.
"I remember him telling me that he was on the way to the hospital in the ambulance with Mr. Jackson and for me not to be alarmed," she said.
She said she made attempts to reach Murray by phone throughout the day but that she could not recall if they spoke. The doctor, Alvarez said, showed up at her apartment that afternoon. She said she did not know how got there.
Opening statements in Murray's trial were made on September 27, That day, one of the prosecutors played to the jury a recording of a voice message by Jackson, found on Murray's iPhone, to demonstrate the effect propofol had on him as he prepared for his "This Is It" tour. The singer's voice is deeply slurred. Jackson's co-directer, Kenny Ortega, said the singer appeared unwell days before his death.Don't forget: In addition to supplying you with full details about the case, OnTheRedCarpet.com will provide a live stream of the Conrad Murray trial, Monday to Friday, from 8:45 a.m. PT / 11:45 a.m. PT. The judge has said it is set to end on October 28.