The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Whitney Houston Death: Cause Still Unknown; Possible Crime?

As the world mourned the death of iconic singer Whitney Houston over the weekend, investigators were working hard to uncover what killed her, reports the Associated Press.

Houston was reportedly found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday afternoon, and an autopsy of her body was reportedly performed on Sunday. However, coroner's officials would not release any information about the autopsy, and police detectives have kept most of the information about their investigation under wraps.

Officials did say there were no obvious signs of trauma on Houston's body or indications of foul play, but they are not ruling out any causes of death until toxicology results have been released, which could take weeks.

Houston's death has been compared to that of musical icon Michael Jackson. Both were reportedly struggling with drug abuse and depression shortly before their passing.

"The biggest devil is me," Houston said in a 2002 interview. "I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."

Houston was reportedly displaying bizarre behavior hours before her death that could evidence drug use. A witness claims Houston looked disheveled, was sweating profusely, and smelled of liquor and cigarettes, according to the Associated Press.

In Jackson's case, his doctor, Conrad Murray, was sentenced to involuntary manslaughter for providing Jackson with the drugs that eventually killed him.

With little-to-no details released about Houston's death, it's too soon to make any strong speculations about what killed Houston. However, there are criminal charges that could result from a toxicology report with signs of problematic drugs, such as in Jackson's case.

In California, homicide can include a spectrum of charges, ranging from involuntary manslaughter all the way to first degree murder. Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentionally causing someone's death through either recklessness, criminal negligence, or during the commission of a non-felony crime.

The investigation into Whitney Houston's death will likely dominate headlines as Michael Jackson's death did. However it plays out, Houston's death provides another tragic case of a gifted performer who was taken too soon.

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