The call she was dreading woke Maureen Faulkner a little after 7 a.m. on the West Coast.

It was Hugh Burns, a prosecutor from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, with news: A decision on Mumia Abu-Jamal was in.

"He just gave me the facts," Faulkner, 51, said in an interview yesterday from her home north of Los Angeles.

But the news pulled her back to the early morning of Dec. 9, 1981, when her husband, Daniel Faulkner, a Philadelphia police officer, was shot to death near 13th and Locust Streets.

Maureen and Daniel Faulkner were both 25 and had been married for only a year.

She said she has lived more than half of her life waiting to learn the fate of her husband's killer.

And her wait continues.

Faulkner said she would consult with her deceased husband's two surviving brothers, as well as District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, on how to proceed, following the ruling that Abu-Jamal must either be sentenced to life in prison or go before a new jury that would decide whether he should get life or be sentenced to death.

They have 180 days to decide.

"There are so many emotions that the family and I have to absorb," Faulkner said. "We'll have to make a clear decision on what we want to do to further this."

Faulkner works as the manager of a medical office. "It's hard to live a normal life," she said. She was off this week and had planned to go to Santa Barbara with friends when the news on Abu-Jamal came down.

Faulkner said it was "a sad thing" for the court to open the possibility of another sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal based on the wording of a jury form.

"We need to remember the victim," Faulkner said. "We need to remember Danny lying on the cold pavement, looking into the barrel of a gun. I often think of that and how frightening it must have been for him."

Contact staff writer Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or