Mumia Abu-Jamal Won't Face Death Penalty

Former Black Panther will spend rest of life in prison
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2011 3:46 PM CST
In this 1995 file photo, Mumia Abu-Jamal leaves Philadelphia's City Hall after a hearing.   (AP Photo/Chris Gardner, File)
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(Newser) – Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer 30 years ago, is off death row, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The city's DA announced today that he is dropping his bid to have the death penalty reinstated against Abu-Jamal and will instead settle for having him "die in prison." The death-penalty process would have dragged on too long, said Seth Williams.

Abu-Jamal's defenders have long claimed he was framed—he was a vocal critic of police before the altercation in which he was convicted of shooting officer Daniel Faulkner point-blank in the face—though subsequent courts have upheld the verdict. His case had become a lightning rod for opponents of the death penalty over the years, notes the Los Angeles Times. The DA's decision means Abu-Jamal, now 57, will move out of solitary confinement and into the general prison population.

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