Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's former doctor who gave the singer a series of prescription drugs just before he died, has been found guilty after pleading guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The verdict carries with it a maximum sentence of four years, but Murray is not expected to serve much of it given the overcrowding in California prisons. Cheers could be heard outside the Los Angeles courtroom, where Jackson fans had gathered to celebrate the conviction of the man they presumably agree is guilty of killing their idol, however unintentionally.

Sentencing will be held on November 29, with Murray held without bail until then. The jury reached their decision after two days of deliberation following the six-week trial, in which Murray's lawyers argued that Jackson self-adminstered the dose of Propofol that killed him on June 25, 2009, while prosecutors claimed Murray himself administered the drugs, and forced Jackson to take the entire regimen of drugs that lead to his untimely death.

The trial focused on any number of factors that could have led to Jackson's death, from Murray performing a "non-standard" CPR technique to waiting as long as 30 minutes before placing a 911 call to the drugs he used to treat Jackson to begin with. The trial, of course, has been covered doggedly in the media for weeks now, and it was hard to avoid headlines about Jackson's children reacting to his death, or testimonies from those close to him. The question that nobody has managed to answer, of course, is how prosecuting Murray on a charge that led to a maximum of 4 years in prison has done anyone any good. Jackson's death was a tragedy in 2009, but in 2011, in a courtroom, it feels less like a punishable offense than simply something sad that requires a scapegoat.

Murray was probably in a no-win situation, caring for someone as sick as Jackson who also had enough power to force a doctor to do whatever he wanted. Whether or not it's actually his fault that Jackson died, he'll serve the jail time for it. Now one of the most senseless deaths in American pop cultural history has its official scapegoat.

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