Murray’s four-year sentence for the involuntary manslaughter conviction translated into just two years in jail because of California prison rules that give an additional day credit for each day served.
A jury concluded after a two-month trial in 2011 that Murray’s negligence led to Jackson’s death from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.
Monday will be the first time Murray has stepped outside of the Los Angeles County jail since November 2011, except for one visit to a hospital and to court. He served his time in the local jail because of overcrowding in state prisons.
The cardiologist, who was hired to serve as the pop icon’s personal doctor for his comeback tour in 2009, told investigators he gave Jackson nightly infusions of propofol to treat his intractable insomnia for two months so he could rest for rehearsals.
Prosecutors argued that his negligence included leaving Jackson unmonitored and unattended while the powerful anesthetic was being pumped into his vein through an IV drip.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren, arguing for the maximum four years in jail, said Murray was “playing Russian roulette with Michael Jackson’s life every single night,” by using propofol to put him to sleep in “a reckless, obscene manner.”
Murray’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Jackson self-administered the drug while Murray was out of his bedroom.
He remained unremorseful during his two years in jail.
“My entire approach may not have been an orthodox approach, but my intentions were good,” Murray told CNN’s Anderson Cooper interview last April.
He said his intentions were to wean Jackson from propofol. He said he succeeded in eliminating propofol from his insomnia treatment three days before Jackson’s death.
“I explained to Michael that this is an artificial way of considering sleep. It was basically sedation, minimal sedation,” he told Cooper.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor imposed the maximum sentence on Murray, even though the doctor was technically eligible for probation.
Judge Pastor, in a 30-minute speech explaining his sentence, cited Murray’s “pattern of deceit and lies. That pattern was to assist Dr. Murray.”
Jackson died “not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident,” Pastor said. “He died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to Dr. Murray … because of a series of decisions that Dr. Murray made.”
Murray, he said, became involved in “a cycle of horrible medicine.”
Jackson family members and fans have complained that Murray should have been prosecuted for second degree murder — not manslaughter.
Murray can no longer practice medicine since his licenses were suspended in California, Texas and Nevada in the wake of his conviction. His lawyer indicated he would try to get them reinstated so he can treat patients again.