Philadelphia DA Gives Up On Death Penalty For Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Tony Hanson and Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was 30 years ago this Friday that Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was murdered, gunned down in center city.  The convicted killer is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Now, the Philadelphia district attorney has announced that he has decided not to continue to pursue the death penalty against Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death but ultimately, after decades of appeals which turned him into an international cause celebre, the sentence was overturned.

Late Tuesday a federal judge ordered the state to take action — either conduct a new sentencing hearing and seek the death penalty again, or sentence Abu-Jamal to life in prison.  And do it within 180 days.

But, DA Seth Williams says that after consulting with Officer Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, he will allow the current sentence — life in prison without parole — to stand.

If the prosecution had sought the death penalty again, the case would have been expected to continue for years with additional appeals.

DA Williams says it was a difficult decision because he has no doubt that Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner and that the appropriate sentence was handed down by the jury.  But, he says, there were financial and legal considerations, and most importantly, the impact on the family.

Maureen Faulkner, who was just 25 when her husband was gunned down,  says she has suffered through 30 years of unimaginable physical, emotional, and financial hell:
“The time remaining before Abu-Jamal stands before his ultimate judge… it doesn’t seem quite so far off as it once did when I was younger.  I look forward to that day so I can finally close the book on this chapter of my life.”

But she adds this not the end of her journey, that she will not stop fighting for justice for her husband.

Story continues below photo…

abu jamal briefing  tawa Philadelphia DA Gives Up On Death Penalty For Mumia Abu Jamal

Maureen Faulkner, widow of the slain Philadelphia police officer, speaks at today's briefing. Among those attending are, from left, former assistant DA Joe McGill, police commissioner Charles Ramsey (hidden), DA Seth Williams, and Philadelphia FOP head John McNesby. Credit: Steve Tawa.


During the briefing today, Maureen Faulkner said it’s become clear to her that judges of the federal District Courts and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals “simply do as they want, not as the law dictates.”

“And,” she added, “federal judges including the four dishonest cowards who presided over my husband’s case are the fixers.”

Mrs. Faulkner points out since the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976, there have been hundreds of death sentences imposed by Pennsylvania juries, but “none has made it through the federal appeals gauntlet.”
Also today, Joe McGill, the former assistant district attorney who prosecuted the Abu-Jamal case in 1982, says today’s decision is not in any way a victory for the convicted cop killer, who would have used a new sentencing hearing as a platform, “because what he would do is nothing more than generate more self-publicity for himself, his actions, and philosophy.”

Mrs. Faulkner added that it’s a disgrace that money has poured into Abu-Jamal’s defense fund while he “operates a cottage industry in prison.”


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  • James Simon

    Mumia joins Leonard Peltier, another convicted cop killer, in living the rest of his days without fear of being deprived of his life, as he so viciously deprived Officer Faulkner of his. Both convicts are the objects of praise and devotion by ideologues and ignoramuses, but thankfully the truth will survive. Peltier’s undoing, as seen in Paul DeMain’s investigative work and American Indian Mafia, will forever be a thorn in his side. Welcome to the party, Wes

    • Donny

      Not that I agree with you, but I do understand where you’re coming from. Although I’ve learned that any comments we as human beings make comes either from love (ourselves) or fear (ourselves). Dare you look which one works for you? I’ll leave the rest up to you…if you care?
      All the best,

  • Chad-Roscoe

    Well, it’s not the justice Jamal deserves, but it’s a step in the right direction.
    It’s also not the justice Daniel Faulkner deserves. He deserves to have justice and the real killer found.
    As for Mrs. Faulkner, while her bitterness is understandable, she seems like an intelligent woman. You would think, after all these years, she could read the reports the rest of us read, and that she would want the real killer found, and not just someone black to pay.
    *sigh* You still have a long way to go Philly. (And I am a white person.) Faulkner and Jamal have both lost 30 years of their lives for another man’s actions, and because Philly just wants someone to pay.
    As for the death penalty, state-sponsored murder is simply morally wrong.

    • Donny

      You’re perfectly right about the death penalty being immoral. The thing you may not know, is that Jamal may or may not be the killer. But he was right there when it happened. And if he didn’t kill the officer, he knows who did. But he won’t say. And that’s just intolerable. So draw your own conclusions.

  • Hater

    Hey Donny, why don’t you STFU and GFY? When you’re done, come back here and apologize to everyone. Are you really so full of yourself that your opinion is the only one that matters?

    • Donny

      You’re Hater, huh? Perfect! You want to know what I know about haters?…haters hate themselves. Frankly, I feel sorry for you…truly. The other thing you might want to know…is that your message has nothing whatsoever to do with me. Look in the mirror.

      • Hater

        I see you can give it but you can’t take it, huh? Didn’t mean to hurt your widdle feelwings. You know nothing about me. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

      • Donny

        I don’t know you? You sig…”Hater” is more than enough to know you.

  • Nickalas

    Let’s see if Obama grants Mumia a Presidential Pardon. That’s about the only thing left that would make the cherry atop this 30yo sundaye.

  • Donny

    Dee, please don’t dump your religious beliefs or superstitions on me. Where was your “loving” God when officer Faulkner was being murdered? This isn’t about God or Jesus. This is about human beings doing bad stuff to other humans. With all due respect keep your religious comments to yourself.

    • Dee

      We hear your confusion.. I have empathy for you.. am sure God is disappointed in all of humanity..

      • Donny

        Dee, you have empathy for me? Then for sure you don’t know what empathy means! If God is really disappointed in humanity as you claim, what does that say about your all-knowing all perfect and “loving” God? And if he is so loving, why did he create guns and wars and murderers and death penalties? Your answer????

    • Dee

      I have a great deal of empathy for you… Humanity is to blame.. not God.. You choose to blame whomever you want to for war, despair, etc.. surely not our Creator… God forgives our sins and all our human faults( which is where the blame is).. and will be our savior I wish you the best through your life and someday you will be less self righteous and will understand in the end and realize there is far more .. I agree with Mrs Faulkner as she talks about Mumia awaiting the ultimate judge. Take care and God Bless you Donny!!

      • Donny

        Dee, so you agree with Maureen Falkner? So are you willing to suffer for another 30 years like she plans to? So before God or jesus has a chance to judge Jamal, who’s the condemning judging now? And isn’t your God a forgiving God?
        I also notice how you have no answers to my direct questions about your “loving God? Once more…why does he allow these murders?

      • Dee

        Stay on this site for as long as you would like to.. enjoy!!

  • grumpy

    Well, there you have it!!! The next time that the police radio says “officer down” I hope that response will be to shoot first and ask questions later!

    • Donny

      Hey Grumpy, shoot first? That’s what Jamal probably did. If you’re a Philly cop, which I hope you’re not, then you need some help.

      • grumpy

        It seems to me that police officers DO need help…’s open season on THEM!
        They should be the ones that go home to their families at night, NOT the perps!

      • Donny

        Grumpy, Since you’re “SHOULDING,” that police officers “should” go home to their families…I agree. But then I SHOULD be a billionaire. But I’m not willing to do what it takes You follow? By the same reasoning, I’m not willing to put my life on the line as police officers darn well know that’s what they’re doing. On the other hand ALL OF US “should’ go home to our families. Any question?

  • Caolan

    A day the Philadelphia Police will Never forget, A day that will live in Infamy. Another sneak attack against the rank and File of the Philadelphia Police Department. The Philadelphia DA just gave an open Door Policy to all would be ‘Cop-Killers’. Come to Philadelphia, The DA gives you 3 hots and a cot for the rest of yor life and you get a Street named after you. The 15 minute of famers will be clamoring to get their name in the paper.
    Recall Seth Williams, The sooner the better, for a safer Philadelphia.

    • Donny

      If Jamal’s commutation is truly making you feel less safe, then as a professionnal Life Coach, I say that’s about you’re unsafe feelings…and not about Jamal. The Jamal issue has only triggered your own feelings of how safe or unsafe you feel. And by the way, in reality, a cop’s life isn’t any more precious than an innocent civilian’s life.

  • emjay

    I know…How about if Mumia did NOT kill Daniel Faulkner, he should not have been sent to prison in the first place. If Mumia DID, in fact, kill Daniel Faulkner, even though he was spared the death penalty, he will be in eternal death if he does not repent and turn to salvation through Jesus Christ.

    • Donny

      Here we go again…more religious superstitions. With all due respect to your religious beliefs, how do you KNOW (not what you believe) that Jesus or God will judge Jamal?
      As I’ve asked before, if there really is a fair and loving God, why did he allow officer Faulkner to die in the first place? And why does a “loving” God have Maureen Faulkner suffer for 30 years? Is that all God or Jesus for? To judge?
      No, no, no…this is all human being’s doing. No mythical God has anything to do with this insanity.

      • Dee

        “Human beings doing” EXACTLY… we are given freedom of choice to make our own decisions and how to behave in our lives… God is our salvation and will not turn away but is there for us through it all. Not a myth Donny… perhaps if you would turn to God and learn you would not have a doubt nor would you be filled with blasphemy… will await your sarcastic remarks and will choose to ignore them.. but will say a prayer for you Donny

  • T. Williams

    Several questions for Ms. Bryant…

    Are you for real?

    Do you have any idea of how our system works? Are you even remotely educated in the facts of the case, the trial, the subsequent court battles?

    Have you ever read (or heard of) our Constitution?

    You can’t keep retrying things until you get the result you like. It doesn’t work that way.

    • Donny Rothbardt

      You said, “You can’t keep retrying things until you get the result you want. It doesn’t work that way.”
      Sorry, Mr or Ms Williams, sometimes it does. Not that it’s right or wrong, but sometimes morals trumps the “law.”
      Either way, the death penalty is merely legalized murder. Many times murderers don’t think. What’s your excuse?

  • noname

    If the prosecution had sought the death penalty again, the case would have been expected to continue for years with additional appeals.

    let the low life liar rot…rot and then rot in h* ll

  • Brandon

    Linda, Wesley Cook, that is his real name, did have a fair trial. He was proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, by a jury of his peers. He stated in the hospital the night it happened that he “hoped he killed that white f*%@kin cop”. How his defense got through appeal after appeal is beyond me. Saying God Bless to a cop killer is downright absurd and disrespectful to all law enforcement.

    God bless P/O Daniel Faulkner and the Faulkner family. They are the ones that deserve the blessing, not the cold hearted cop killer!

    • Donny

      With all due respect to your religious beliefs, God has nothing to do with Daniel Faulkner’s death nor made Abu Jamal kill. And too, if God would have blessed officer Faulkner, why did he allow him to be killed?
      And then too, if God would bless Maureen Faulkner in any way, he might have removed her 30 years of suffering.
      Now if Abu jamal really did kill Officer Faulkner, the way the story goes, obviously he showed no mercy. What’s your excuse? Or are you as hateful as Jamal was?

  • H.E. Pennypacker

    365 days * 30 years= 10,950 days behind bars. The old saying for this case is justice delayed equals justice denied. The delays performed by the defense ultimately wore down the Faulkner family. But then the only convicted felons executed in Pennsylvania on Death Row since 1976 have given all rights and appeals (example Gary Heidnik). The state of Pennsylvania should stop now the use of the Death Penalty for high profile murder cases, and move to the sentence of life in prison with no parole in the future.

  • LETS FOCUS ON mRS faulkner

    II HOPE HE GETS IT IN PRISON. bOUNTY STYLE, LET THE WINNER BE awarded a retrial. Lets turn it around. Smelly rotten excuse for a human. he deserves SAndusky for a cell mate.

    • Donny

      And those comments are meant to focus on Maureen Faulkner? PULEEEEZE!You want her to suffer more? IMO, and sad to say, Maureen doesn’t have to keep suffering. But as long as revenge is on her mind, she will. Too bad!
      She does have a choice. I’ve already written to her about it.

  • burdzy

    Hopefully a bullet will find its way into M. Jamal’s head!

  • Overseer Justin Cohen

    Any “descrepancies” in the case were fabricated and done so after the case.


    Linda Bryant, I suppose you also believe the US government was behind 9/11. You are a gullible fool!

  • C. DeClerico

    Another slap in the face to Justice. The meaning of that word should be redefined!!!

    • Donny

      I do see your point. However, since when does “justice” mean to legally murder a murderer? Next time you think of justice or injustice, I suggest you include the word “mercy.”
      Many times a murderer will show no mercy. But many times too, a killlerdoesn’t think rationally.On the other hand, we as clear thinkers, do we do the same…and show none? Don’t we become like them? Worse! We can take time to choose. Now what does that say?
      By the way, I’m not saying Abu Jamal isn’t guilty…or otherwise.

  • Linda D Bryant

    What Mr. Jamal deserved was a NEW TRIAL!

    There are too many discrepancies as far as this mans guilt are concerned.
    Just because this was a cop who was killed, does not mean that Mumia did not
    deserve a fair trial.

    I guess we will never know the true facts regarding this case.

    May God Bless MUMIA!!!!!!

    • Dee

      Linda, this ??Mumia??? deserves nothing ,,,, God Bless Daniel Faulkner and his family. This monster will receive the ultimate punishment. Should we all wait for you to make the “race” comment during these discussions??.. give me a break

      I agree with Daniel you are disrespectful to law enforcement

  • John

    Seth Williams is concerned about only one person: Seth Williams. He’s more concerned about his closure rate than he is about justice. If he had any soul, he would resign.

  • Dee

    He will have to answer to the ultimate JUDGE, God, who judges all .

  • justice for faulkner

    The Philly DA is a coward.

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