On June 13, 2005 I got a call from my sister. She and her roommates had decided to drive up to where the Michael Jackson trial was being held to witness the craziness that was happening there daily. Ventura, where I was living at the time, was on the way so she asked if I wanted to come along. I am always in for an adventure, so I hopped in the car with my sister , and her roommates Sarah, Joanna and David and set course for Santa Maria California. I took a lot of pictures on our adventure, but this is the first time I have published them.
When we arrived we had no idea that this would be the day that the verdict was delivered. We got to the courthouse very shortly after the news went out: "Not Guilty." It was pandemonium. People were cheering, some were boo-ing, total strangers we hugging in the streets. I remember specifically one man from Australia who came out just to support Micheal. He gave many intense news interviews. We heard that after MJ's arraignment, he had invited everyone present to come back to Neverland to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere. We thought this might be a possibilty now and we weren't going to miss out on that. We also weren't the only ones with that idea.
The gates of Neverland were firmly shut, but that didn't stop the throngs of supporters who were content just to be there. It was a truly bizarre scene. A few of the Jackson entourage came out to thank the supporters. At one point, Tito said hello from behind the gates. Everyone was waiting to see if Michael would come out and say something to the crowd, but eventually we were told that he was tired and would not be seen. Our Jacksonian adventure was over.
Although I love his music, I am definitely not one of the hardcore Jackson supporters. In fact, I still think he most likely committed some crimes against children. However, his contribution to music and culture cannot be denied. He was an utterly complex individual with many positives and negatives about him. Does his story remind anyone else of that of Anakin Skywalker? Hopefully Quincy Jones isn't working on a Vader-style suit...
More photos from my day on the Michael Jackson news beat.