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Murdered By Mumia Abu-Jamal
More than twenty cities around the world, including Paris, Montreal, and Palermo, have bestowed honorary citizen status upon him. In 2006, a newly-paved road in Saint Denis, France was named in his honor. The city of Oakland, California closed its schools for a day so that children could learn of his plight.
One of his many published works has been translated into seven languages and distributed throughout the world. He has been a featured speaker at several college commencement ceremonies, albeit via audiotape, and musical artists have performed for overflowing crowds, raising millions of dollars on his behalf.
Who is this international sensation so lavished with praise and adulation? His name is Mumia Abu-Jamal, and on July 2, 1982 a jury of his peers found him guilty of the first degree murder of a 25-year-old Philadelphia peace officer named Daniel Faulkner. Mumia Abu-Jamal currently resides in a Pennsylvania prison -- though no longer on death row -- far removed from Rue Mumia in the pastoral outskirts of Paris.
Written and Recorded by Frank Lafaro
Still, in the early days after the murder, nobody who read about the events in Philadelphia could have predicted that Abu-Jamal would become the poster boy for an international anti-death campaign. Why should he? He murdered my husband.
Murdered By Mumia
A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice
Maureen Faulkner had been married to Officer Daniel Faulkner for just 14 months at the time of his death. The dreaded rap on her door that fateful morning ushered Maureen into an often surreal world; one copiously documented by over 5,000 pages of trial transcripts and impassioned musings by the convicted killer himself.
On July 2, 1982, after being tried before a racially mixed jury that he personally helped select, Mumia Abu-Jamal was unanimously convicted of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The following day, the jury sentenced Abu-Jamal to death after just two hours of deliberation.
On March 6, 1989, The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania heard the defendant's appeals and upheld the conviction. Successive court rulings have repeatedly confirmed his guilt.In the 26 years since her husband's brutal murder, Maureen Faulkner has watched in disbelief as Mumia Mania swept the world, taking in scores of Hollywood celebrities, many of whom have never read a single word of the trial record. As Ed Asner of Lou Grant fame so eloquently put it when asked if he had read the original trial transcript, "Could I stay awake?"
Murdered By Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice, co-authored with Philadelphia talk radio host and attorney, Michael A. Smerconish, is Maureen Faulkner's attempt to use clear, hard facts to tell her side of the story, and counter a quarter century of lies and misinformation about the night her beloved husband was murdered in cold blood by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
Flashback to December 9, 1981
Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner's Final Moments
It was just after 3:30 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning when Officer Daniel Faulkner, a five-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, made what should have been a routine traffic stop. A blue Volkswagen, driven by William Cook, was headed the wrong way on a one-way street, its lights unlit.
Cook's brother, Wesley, a cab driver who went by the name of Mumia Abu-Jamal, watched the drama unfold from across the street. According to multiple witnesses at the scene, Officer Faulkner was in the process of handcuffing an uncooperative William Cook when Abu-Jamal ran toward the officer and shot him in the back.
Before falling to the pavement, Daniel Faulkner turned and fired one shot, striking Abu-Jamal in the stomach. Abu-Jamal stood over Officer Faulkner and fired several shots, point-blank, at Officer Faulkner's upper body. He then bent down and fired a final, fatal shot at Officer Faulkner's head, just above his eye.
Backup officers arrived 40 seconds after the final shot was fired and found a wounded Abu-Jamal slumped against the curb in front of his brother's car. His taxi was found in the parking lot across from the shooting. Abu-Jamal was wearing an empty shoulder holster, and a .38 caliber hand gun registered to him was found by his side. It contained five spent shells.
Abu-Jamal's ammunition of choice was a lethal type of bullet known as "Plus P" high velocity. Witnesses to the brutal slaying identified Mumia Abu-Jamal as the killer both at the scene and during his subsequent trial.
Let's write epitaphs for pigs.
Interview with Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner
I'm fighting every day, not just for my freedom, not just for my liberation, but for all of our liberation.
The Best Known Death-Row Prisoner in the World
Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The guilty verdict has been widely debated, and his supporters are convinced he did not receive a fair trial.
Prior to his arrest Mumia Abu-Jamal was a Black Panther Party member and activist. The self-described journalist worked as a part-time cab driver. During his imprisonment he published several books and commentaries, most notably Live from Death Row. Since the conviction, Mumia Abu-Jamal's case has received international attention and he has enjoyed fame as a controversial cultural icon and political prisoner.
Most of Mumia Abu-Jamal's celebrity supporters cite their anti-death-penalty bias when pressed for details about the case. Clearly, many are not knowledgeable about, or simply choose to ignore key facts related to the murder or the trial. As a result, the death penalty looms as a major issue in the Daniel Faulkner case
UPDATE - Philadelphia, April 26, 2011: The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling affirming the decision of the District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that granted convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal a new penalty hearing. At issue was whether the jury was mislead into believing they were required to unanimously find any mitigating circumstances. The District Attorney maintains that the jury instruction at trial was fair and appropriate, and consistent with the standards of the Supreme Court. The District Attorney is filing a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the Third Circuit Court's decision and reinstate the death penalty.
Books by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Still, one thing you will not find in any of Abu-Jamal's books is an accounting of what happened on December 9, 1981. If you did not murder my husband, Mr. Abu-Jamal, why not write a book and tell us in your words exactly what happened that night?
The Today Show
December 6, 2007
Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish discuss the book Murdered By Mumia with Matt Lauer, who seems unusually sympathetic to Mumia Abu-Jamal supporters protesting outside the studio. Media bias? You be the judge.
Support for Abu-Jamal in the City of Brotherly Love has never been strong, except in the most radical of circles. I have always attributed this lack of support at home to the fact that people here have been presented with a more steady and balanced view of the evidence than those Hollywood types who have then glommed onto sound bites generated to build support for an anti-death penalty effort.
Michael Smerconish is Philadelphia's most popular talk radio host, heard daily on CBS Radio's The Big Talker 1210 AM WPHT.
A lawyer turned political commentator, Smerconish occasionally fills in for Bill O'Reilly on The Radio Factor, and guest hosts for Joe Scarborough's Scarborough Country on MSNBC. He is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Michael Smerconish is intimately familiar with the facts of the Daniel Faulkner murder case, having read and studied more than five thousand pages of trial transcripts.
He has provided pro bono legal advice to Daniel Faulkner's widow, Maureen, for more than a decade, and is uniquely qualified to help her defend her slain husband's honor as co-author of Murdered By Mumia: A Life Sentence of loss, Pain, and Injustice.
Generally speaking, in the city where the murder occurred most people are of the opinion that the guy who did it is where he belongs, if not six feet above where he ought to be.
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