Jackson family order new autopsy as anger mounts

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 28, 2009 at 7:11 AM EST

The family of Michael Jackson ordered a second autopsy of the tragic pop icon Saturday as associates told of mounting anger over "unanswered questions" surrounding the superstar's death.

Jackson's family members were huddled at their compound in Los Angeles, where they have gathered since the most famous member of their clan died suddenly on Thursday at age 50 after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest.

Los Angeles police on Saturday conducted a second interview with doctor Conrad Murray, the only person with him when he collapsed. A spokeswoman for the cardiologist said he "clarified some inconsistencies" over the death.

But the spokeswoman, Miranda Sevcik, added: "Investigators say the doctor is in no way a suspect and remains a witness to this tragedy."

Frustrated by the lack of hard information, the family requested a second autopsy on Jackson's body which was being kept at an undisclosed location, officials and local media reports said.

Late Saturday, The Los Angeles Times reported the autopsy had been completed but there was no word on the findings.

"We don't like what's going on," family patriarch Joe Jackson told People magazine. The Jacksons later issued a statement to fans describing the death as "one of the darkest moments of our lives."

The Los Angeles Coroner's office said Friday a preliminary autopsy on Jackson was inconclusive and a final cause of death would not be known until exhaustive toxicology tests are completed in "six to eight weeks."

According to The Times, which cites Pennsylvania forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, the coroner's office probably kept Jackson's brain even after his body had been released to the family in order to conduct a neuropathology test.

This test could reveal whether the singer's brain had been damaged by drug abuse and whether he had suffered overdoses in the past, the paper said.

Veteran US politician and activist Reverend Jesse Jackson -- who is not related to the family -- told ABC television's Good Morning America he had spent Friday counseling the family.

And he revealed that family members were angered by lingering questions surrounding Jackson's death and were focusing their attention on the role of Murray, whom the singer had hired just last month.

"They are suspicious of this doctor and they have real reason to be because any other doctor would say 'Here's what happened in the last hour of his life and I was there. I gave him some medicine,'" Jesse Jackson said.

In an interview with Fox News aired Saturday, Joe Jackson, the father of the singer, dismissed the notion that stress killed Michael Jackson as the 50-year-old prepared for a grueling 50-concert comeback in London.

"No, it did not," he said of the stress, but did not elaborate.

Friends and associates of Jackson took to the airwaves to voice anger over the role of advisers and physicians that surrounded the star.

New age guru and Jackson confidante Deepak Chopra -- a qualified cardiologist -- told CNN bluntly: "I think drugs killed him."

Anger was also beginning to be seen amongst fans who have gathered around the globe in their thousands to pay tribute to Jackson in what have been largely joyous celebrations of his life.

On the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, fans queued again on Saturday for the right to file past Jackson's star set in the sidewalk.

Deborah Canton, 46, sobbed inconsolably as she slammed the "evil people" who she accused of driving Jackson to his death.

"The guy would never hurt a fly but all of these evil people would do everything to destroy him just to get his money," she said. "I don't think he wanted to live anymore."

In New York large crowds formed outside the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, where Jackson launched his career in 1969.

Black Entertainment Television (BET) was quickly reworking its annual awards show on Sunday, turning it into a tribute to the superstar credited with helping bridge racial divides.

Meanwhile revelers at Britain's Glastonbury music festival sported T-shirts with slogans like "Michael Jackson RIP" and "I was at Glasto when Jacko died", while graffiti paying tribute to "The King of Pop" adorned tents.

Jackson's death has sent fans scrambling to stock up on his music, and British chart officials said a compilation album was likely to go to the top of the charts on Sunday.

While Jackson ruled the charts and dazzled audiences with dance moves like the "moonwalk" in the 1980s, his once-stellar career was overshadowed by his startling physical transformation and multiple allegations of child abuse.

He lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges of child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.




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