POSTED: 02:15 a.m. HST, Jan 08, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 02:17 a.m. HST, Jan 08, 2011
LOS ANGELES — A coroner's investigator testified Friday that she found 12 bottles of a powerful anesthetic that contributed to the death of Michael Jackson in the singer's bedroom and closet after he died.
Investigator Elissa Fleak said nine of the bottles were found in a bag labeled "Baby Essentials" in the closet. Other medications and syringes were discovered during searches of Jackson's rented mansion after his June 25, 2009, death and again four days later.
Fleak was the first investigator to describe in detail the items authorities recovered from Jackson's bedroom.
She took the witness stand on the fourth day of a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for Dr. Conrad Murray to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities contend Jackson died after Murray gave him a lethal dose of propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom then delayed calling 911 while he collected and bagged medications.
Fleak said she found six vials of the painkiller lidocaine, as well as other prescription medications and syringes, including two found next to Jackson's bed.
During cross-examination by the defense, Fleak was asked whether some of the items would have been within reach from the bed by someone of Jackson's height and build.
A judge didn't allow the investigator to answer that question, but Fleak did say several of the items, including a used bottle of propofol and syringe, were within two feet of the bed.
Murray's attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, asked Fleak whether she checked to see how much liquid remained in each of the vials.
"There were so many vials, I don't remember which ones were more full or less full," Fleak said.
Fleak was told to search the room after police detectives interviewed Murray and he disclosed that he gave the singer propofol injections and several other medications before the singer's death, court records state.
Earlier in the day, a former girlfriend of Murray testified that he had been distracted when he called her on the morning of the singer's death, and she heard commotion in the background.
Witness Sade Anding said she realized at one point that Murray wasn't paying attention to her. She heard coughing and mumbling but didn't recognize the voice as Murray, she said.
"I heard commotion as if the phone was in a pocket or something," Anding said.
The testimony added details to a timeline being developed by prosecutors at the hearing.
Prosecutors said Anding was one of three women whom Murray either called or received a call from around the time Jackson died.
"It shows a distinct pattern by Dr. Murray of whether he is making the phone call or receiving the phone call, that he carries on personal, social business when his attention should be on his patient Michael Jackson," Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the judge in a conference, according to a transcript obtained by The Associated Press.
Phone records show Murray called Anding at 11:51 a.m. She said she stayed on the line for five to six minutes, but Murray never got back on the phone.
The records indicate 911 was dialed at 12:21 p.m.
Walgren said Anding's call was particularly important "because it highlights the priorities Dr. Murray was placing at the time," according to the transcript. "His focus should have been on his patient when instead at 11:51, the evidence will show he is making a phone call to this cocktail waitress in Houston."
Prosecutors also called Murray's current girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez, and asked about shipments the doctor had sent to her apartment by a Las Vegas pharmacy.
Alvarez acknowledged receiving several packages for Murray but said she never looked inside and didn't know the contents.
Authorities have said in court documents they believe Murray was having shipments of propofol and other medications used by Jackson sent to Alvarez.
It's unusual to send propofol to a private residence but not illegal.
The phone records show Murray called Alvarez from the ambulance that transported Jackson to a hospital, but prosecutors did not ask her about the call that lasted two minutes.
Prosecutors said a third woman called Murray but did not speak to him.
The hearing will resume Monday.