Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

D.A. won’t seek death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced this morning he will not seek the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced this morning he will not seek the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Williams said that he saw no point in triggering another two or three decades of appeals.

"Every reviewing court has found the trial fair and the guilty verdict sound," he said. ". . . Our best remaining option is to let Mr. Abu-Jamal to die in prison."

Friday marks 30 years since Abu-Jamal's arrest for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, who was on patrol Dec. 9, 1981 when he was gunned down. A jury unanimously handed down a guilty verdict the following year, and Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death.

Today's announcement was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal in October hear a petition by Williams' office seeking to reinstate the death penalty against Abu-Jamal.

Williams made the announcement at an 11 a.m. press conference at the D.A.'s Office building, with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, FOP president John McNesby and Faulker's widow, Maureen, in attendance.

During a five-minute speech, she denounced federal judges whose rulings reflect their personal opposition to the death penalty, but said she accepted the district attorney's decision.

"Rest assured I will now fight with every ounce of energy I have to see that Mumia Abu-Jamal receives absolutely no special treatment when he is removed from death row," she said. "I will not stand by and see him coddled as he had been in the past, and I am heartened by the thought that he will finally be taken from the protected cloister he has been living in all these years and begin living among his own kind - the thugs and common criminals that infest our prisons."

On that fateful night, Faulkner had pulled over a car driven by William Cook, Abu-Jamal's brother, in Center City. Abu-Jamal, a radio personality moonlighting as a cabdriver, recognized his brother's car, ran toward them, and shot Faulkner, witnesses testified.

A gunfight ensued, and Abu-Jamal was struck by a bullet from Faulkner's gun. Abu-Jamal was found slumped on a curb.

Abu-Jamal has drawn support from around the world by those who believe either he is innocent or that his trial was flawed.

Faulkner's widow and the police union are steadfast in their belief in Abu-Jamal's guilt.

Abu-Jamal is being held at the state prison in Greene County in Western Pennsylvania. His supporters were elated, but still pressing for more.

"The D.A. may think that the case can be laid to rest by sending Mumia off to life in prison," said a statement by We the People, which supports Abu-Jamal and believes he is innocent. "But an aroused public ... is ready to challenge anew the entire trial."