WASHINGTON — Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther convicted of killing a police officer, will be spared the death penalty, the Philadelphia district attorney announced Wednesday, bringing a quiet end to a racially charged case that spanned 30 years.
Seth Williams, the city's top prosecutor, said Abu-Jamal will spend the rest of his life in prison. He said the "decision to end this fight (over a death sentence) was not an easy one."
But he said he also had concluded that prosecutors were not likely to win another death sentence for the 57-year-old murderer in the face of steady opposition from the federal courts. And he said he did not want to put the widow of slain Officer Daniel Faulkner through the ordeal of another sentencing hearing.
Abu-Jamal "will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is exactly where he belongs," Williams said.
Maureen Faulkner, the widow, said: "My family and I have endured a three-decade ordeal at the hands of Mumia Abu-Jamal, his attorneys and his supporters. After 30 years of waiting, the time remaining before Abu-Jamal stands before his ultimate judge doesn't quite seem so far off as it once did when I was younger. I look forward to that day."
Abu-Jamal's supporters said they were not satisfied with the outcome.
"This is not ending. It is the new beginning of the movement supporting (his) release," the Free Mumia coalition said.