The District Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia announced on Wednesday that they would no longer seek the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal. A former member of the Black Panther Party and radical journalist, Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He has spent the last thirty years of his life on death row.
Abu-Jamal has proclaimed his innocence all along, and there is ample evidence to suggest that he was the victim of a police frame-up. No longer facing execution, Abu-Jamal is however to serve a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams informed the media of his decision not to pursue the death penalty at a press conference on Wednesday. He told reporters a new sentencing hearing would likely not produce a favorable outcome for the prosecution, because eyewitnesses from the 1982 trial had died or become otherwise unavailable in the ensuing decades.
I would love for Mumia to be released from prison today. But I don't think that's going to happen. I do think that all the pressure brought on behalf of Mumia is why the death penalty no longers swings over his head.
I'm very glad about that.
A part of me feels that Mumia can never be released so I am especially glad that the death penalty is no longer an option.
Why does a part of me feel he will never be released?
I feel the state knowingly and willfully lied to convict Mumia who they either knew might have been innocent or knew outright was innocent. Therefore, I believe the state has too much vested in keeping Mumia behind bars to let him go.
That's my opinion.
I hope I'm wrong.
But I do fear that too much is tied into his being behind bars and that certain individuals will not allow him to be released because that would only raise more questions.