DA Drops Death Penalty Against Mumia Abu-Jamal

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia district attorney says his office will no longer pursue the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal (moo-MEE'-ah AH'-boo jah-MAHL'). Abu-Jamal instead will serve a life sentence for killing city police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

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The decision announced Wednesday by District Attorney Seth Williams comes after nearly 30 years of legal battles over the racially charged case. Faulkner was white. Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther who supporters say is the victim of a biased system.

Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death. But a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing after deciding the jury instructions were potentially misleading.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the case in October. That forced prosecutors to decide if they wanted to again pursue the death penalty or accept a life sentence.