LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County coroner's finding that the death of Michael Jackson was a homicide could mean criminal charges for his doctor, who told investigators he administered a mix of powerful drugs to treat the pop star's insomnia hours before his death.
The homicide ruling was based on forensic tests that found the anesthetic propofol combined with at least two sedatives to kill Jackson, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released.
The finding does not necessarily mean a crime was committed. But it does help prosecutors if they decide to file criminal charges against Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who was caring for Jackson when he died June 25 in a rented Los Angeles mansion.
'It is an easier prosecution when the medical examiner calls it a homicide,' said Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner in New York City, who is not involved in the Jackson investigation.
Through his lawyer, Murray has said he administered nothing that should have killed Jackson.
Murray told investigators that at the time of Jackson's death, he had been trying to wean the entertainer off propofol. The doctor said he'd been treating Jackson for insomnia for about six weeks with 50 milligrams of the drug every night via an intravenous drip, a search warrant affidavit said.
Murray said he feared Jackson was becoming addicted to the anesthetic, which is supposed to be used only in hospitals and other advanced medical settings.
Murray told police he was present when another Las Vegas anesthesiologist, Dr. David Adams, sedated Jackson with propofol at an unnamed cosmetologist's office 'sometime between March and April of this year,' according to the affidavit.
It was about the time Jackson requested that Murray become his personal physician for a European tour, the affidavit said.
A woman at Adams' office in Las Vegas referred calls Tuesday to his lawyer, Liborius Agwara, who did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Nevada State Board of Osteopathic Medicine records show Adams has been licensed in the state of Nevada since 2002, and there are no reports of malpractice and no disciplinary issues against him. Ongoing investigations are confidential unless a licensee is named in a formal administrative complaint.