LOS ANGELES — The doctor convicted in the overdose death of Michael Jackson was sentenced to the maximum four years behind bars Tuesday by a judge who denounced him as a reckless physician whose actions were a "disgrace to the medical profession."
Dr. Conrad Murray sat stoically with his hands crossed as Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor repeatedly chastised him for what he called a "horrific violation of trust" while caring for Jackson.
However, Pastor conceded his sentence was constrained by a recent change in California law that requires Murray to serve his sentence in county jail rather than state prison.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida says Murray will be housed in a one-man cell and kept away from other prisoners.
She also said the doctor's involuntary manslaughter sentence is automatically being cut in half due to state laws.
"If the sheriff is consistent, Dr. Murray's sentence in terms of time incarcerated will be very short," District Attorney Steve Cooley said after the sentencing.
The judge was relentless in his bashing of Murray, saying he lied repeatedly and had not shown remorse for his actions in the treatment of Jackson. Pastor also said Murray's heavy use of the powerful anesthetic propofol to help Jackson battle insomnia violated his sworn obligation.
"It should be made very clear that experimental medicine is not going to be tolerated, and Mr. Jackson was an experiment," Pastor said. "Dr. Murray was intrigued by the prospect and he engaged in this money for medicine madness that is simply not going to be tolerated by me."
Pastor also said Murray "has absolutely no sense of remorse, absolutely no sense of fault, and is and remains dangerous" to the community.
Michael Jackson's family told Pastor in a statement read earlier that they were not seeking revenge but wanted Murray to receive a stiff sentence that served as a warning to opportunistic doctors.
It included elements from Jackson's parents, siblings and his three children.
"As his brothers and sisters, we will never be able to hold, laugh or perform again with our brother Michael," the statement said. "And as his children, we will grow up without a father, our best friend, our playmate and our dad."
The family told The Associated Press after the sentencing that they were pleased with the results.
"We're going to be a family. We're going to move forward. We're going to tour, play the music and miss him," brother Jermaine Jackson said.
Meanwhile, a probation report released Tuesday said the Muray was listed as suicidal in jail records before his sentencing. But a spokesman for Murray says the physician remains resilient.
The report was released after Murray was sentenced to four years behind bars. It states that jail records showed the 58-year-old doctor was classified as "mentally disturbed" and "suicidal."
The doctor was not interviewed by probation officers.
Murray's spokesman Mark Fierro says a defense attorney visited the cardiologist in jail last week and found him upbeat.