Conrad Murray Trial: Expert Says Jackson Could Not Have Taken Fatal Dose Himself

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Reed Saxon / Reuters

Anesthesiology expert Dr. Steven Shafer holds up a bag of saline solution that can be given to a patient intravenously while under anesthesia

Los Angeles district attorneys prepared to wrap up their case in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray on Thursday. An expert on the drug propofol, which killed Michael Jackson, told the court there was only one way a deadly amount of the anesthetic could have wound up in his system: through doses administered by Murray, who was his physician.

Continuing his testimony from Wednesday, Dr. Steven Shafer, a Columbia University anesthesiology professor, said that Michael Jackson could not have orally taken an overdose of propofol because it is impossible to ingest a lethal amount that way. Pathologists have already determined that Jackson died from the amount in his system, and Murray has admitted giving him the drug to help him sleep as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts.

Shafer, who has been on the stand since Wednesday, cited studies dating back to the ’80s that show oral ingestion of propofol would not reach the bloodstream in a significant amount.

(MORE: The Conrad Murray Trial)

He also said that it was “unlikely” that Jackson injected the drug himself, because it would have taken too much time for him to do that without his doctor noticing. Murray was only out of the singer’s bedroom for only a few minutes.

Murray’s defense has suggested that Jackson took enough of the drug lorazepam behind Murray’s back to kill him. Defense attorneys had once banked on that possibility before abandoning it as part of their strategy due to lack of scientific proof. But Shafer said even the defense’s testing showed that the pills had not been taken in the four hours preceding Jackson’s death and only a minimal amount was found in his stomach.

The prosecution is expected to rest on Thursday and defense will begin to call witnesses on Friday.

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Madison Gray is Homepage Producer at TIME.com. Find him on Twitter at @madisonjgray. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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