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Official: Conrad Murray will only serve 2 years of 4-year sentence

Dr. Conrad Murray turns to the courtroom audience after he was sentenced to four years in county jail for his involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of pop star Michael Jackson on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Pool,AP Photo/Mario Anzuoni

Dr. Conrad Murray on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 in Superior Court in Los Angeles.
Pool,AP Photo/Mario Anzuoni

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Sheriff's officials in L.A. County say Conrad Murray will serve about two years of his four-year sentence, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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Although officers are still trying to determine the details of Murray's incarceration, under California state law nonviolent felons serve only 50 percent of their sentences due to over-crowding, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told The Times.

Murray will also serve out his sentence in a county jail rather than a state prison. Under a new state policy, those convicted of certain non-violent crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, are not required to serve their time in prison.

On Tuesday, Murray received the maximum sentence of four years behind bars after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson earlier this month. The six-week trial presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson's final hours, and how the 58-year-old cardiologist administered the powerful anesthetic propofol to treat the superstar's chronic insomnia.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor chastised Murray during the sentencing hearing for a "horrific violation of trust" in caring for the pop star. He called the heavy use of propofol "medicine madness."

Several members of Jackson's family, including his mother Katherine and siblings LaToya, Jermaine, Randy and Rebbie, attended the proceedings. Before the sentencing, attorney Brian Panish read a statement on behalf of the Jackson family.

Prosecutors had asked that Judge Michael Pastor sentence Murray to the maximum four-year term, while defense attorneys wanted probation for the cardiologist, saying he will lose his ability to practice medicine and likely face a lifetime of ostracism.

During the investigation into Jackson's June 2009 death, Murray told detectives he had been giving Jackson nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts. Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.

Murray declined to testify during his trial but participated in a documentary in which he said he didn't consider himself guilty of any crime and blamed Jackson for entrapping him into administering the drug.

In their sentencing memorandum, prosecutors cited Murray's own statements to push for him to receive the maximum term. They also want him to pay restitution to the singer's three children - Prince, Paris and Blanket. It's unlikely that Murray can pay any sizable sum, including the $1.8 million cost of Jackson's funeral. He was deeply in debt when he agreed to serve as Jackson's personal physician for $150,000 a month and the singer died before Murray received any payment.

Complete coverage of the Conrad Murray - Michael Jackson case on CBS News

  • Casey Glynn

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