By Alan Duke
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Seven months in the Los Angeles County jail have taken a physical toll on Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted in Michael Jackson’s death, his lawyer told CNN Monday.
“He looked horrible,” Attorney Valerie Wass said, describing a visit last week with Murray. “I’ve never seen him like that. I’m shocked.”
Word that Murray is suffering behind bars may be welcomed news to some Jackson fans who were angry that prosecutors charged him with involuntary manslaughter and not the more serious crime of murder.
Murray, 59, has been in jail since November when he was found guilty. He must serve two years of his four year sentence in jail, which would put his release in October, 2013.
Next Monday will be the third anniversary of Jackson’s death, which the Los Angeles County coroner ruled was caused by a fatal combination of the surgical anesthetic propofol and sedatives administered by Murray.
“He told me last Tuesday ‘I may not make it out of here alive. This is a very dangerous place. I’m in here dying. The system is intent on killing me,’” said Wass, who is handling Murray’s appeal.
The doctor suspects his moldy, fly-infested, 5-by-7-foot cell is making him sick, causing headaches that have plagued him for several weeks, Wass said.
When Wass took Murray’s complaints to jail officials, they told her his activities are restricted because “We’re afraid somebody’s going to pop him,” she said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the complaints from Murray’s lawyer.
Murray is serving his sentence in the county jail, which is operated by the sheriff, because of rules imposed to relieve state prison overcrowding. There is little chance he would be transferred there, Wass said.
Wass said she believed Murray would better off in a state prison, where he would be able to get exercise and fresh air regularly. He’s only seen the sunshine once in the past four weeks, even though prisoners in the high-security “F Block” are suppose to be taken to the jail roof each Monday afternoon, she said.
Murray told his lawyer even the “Grim Sleeper” suspect, who is charged with killing 10 women over a 22-year period, was allowed on the roof last Monday while Murray was not, Wass said.
“I feel like a P.O.W.,” Murray told his lawyer, using the acronym for prisoner of war.
Still, Murray appears to be getting along well with his jailers, she said.
“I’ve been respectful to the sheriff’s deputies and for the most part they have reciprocated,” the lawyer quotes Murray telling her.
The jail food is disagreeable to Murray, Wass said. He told her he’s has “nothing real to eat” since being locked up.
A breakfast of a “smelly” boiled egg, two slices of bread, cereal and milk is delivered at 4:30 a.m. each day, followed by a peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwich for lunch. Dinner, delivered at 3:30 p.m., is usually is “a meat product that looks like clotted blood,” along with green beans, corn and cabbage, she said.
Murray passes his time each day helping other inmates improve their vocabulary with a “word of the day” game that he designed, she said.
Wass, who is working without pay, is still preparing the appeal of Murray’s conviction.