Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal taken off death row; to spend life in prison | News

Today in a shocking decision reversal, it has been announced that former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal‘s death penalty case will not be pursued by the Philadelphia District Attorney.  This means that he will instead spend the rest of his life in prison, for shooting dead a white police officer named Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

The AP reports that the decision by District Attorney Seth Williams comes after nearly 30 years of legal battles over the racially charged case, made with the support of the officer’s widow and the city police commissioner after Abu-Jamal was convicted of the fatal shooting and sentenced to death after his trial the following year.

The US Supreme Court decided to address the case in October 2011 after years of global support for ex Panther member from those who believe he was the victim of a biased justice system.

Despite the conviction being upheld after a number of appeals, a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing after ruling the instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading which resulted in prosecutors having to decide if they wanted to pursue the death penalty again through a new sentencing hearing or accept a life sentence.

The officer’s widow, Maureen Faulkner said: “My family and I have endured a three-decade ordeal at the hands of Mumia Abu-Jamal, his attorneys and his supporters, who in many cases never even took the time to educate themselves about the case before lending their names, giving their support and advocating for his freedom.”

“All of this has taken an unimaginable physical, emotional and financial toll on each of us.”

Abu-Jamal, who has received consistent support from the “Free Mumia” movement who have regularly showed up for court hearings in his case, challenged the predominantly white makeup of the jury, instructions given to jurors and the statements of eyewitnesses.

If nothing else, it seems that Troy Davis’ death might not have been in vain after all.

[Sources: AssociatedPress, LATimes]

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