Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal Convicted of Slaying Cop In 1980s, Asks For New Trial

Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal Convicted of Slaying Cop In 1980s, Asks For New Trial

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and radical journalist who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1981, is seeking a new trial after new evidence shows his original trial was tainted.

Abu-Jamal is one of the better-known figures of the African American liberation advocates who have spent decades incarcerated for their actions during the Black social justice movement of the 1970s and 80s. He has been behind bars after he was convicted of murdering Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia, The Guardian reports.

Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence. But has remained incarcerated. In 2011, he had his life sentence overturned but is serving a life sentence without parole.

But, on Wednesday, Abu-Jamal’s case will come before the court of common pleas in Philadelphia in what could be his last attempt at freedom after more than 40 years in prison. After flaws and inconsistencies in the prosecution case were revealed, there has been growing concern about the possible injustice that led to his prolonged imprisonment.

The petition came after Abu-Jamal’s lawyers, Judith Ritter and Samuel Spital, were granted access to six filing boxes marked with the prisoner’s name that was found in a storage room in the Philadelphia district attorney’s office in December 2018.

Ritter and Spital argue that the boxes contained “highly significant evidence which the commonwealth never previously disclosed” and that highlight how their client’s conviction was tainted.

Among the discovered items include a handwritten letter sent from the state’s star witness at trial, Robert Chobert, to the prosecutor, Joseph McGill.

“I have been calling you to find out about the money own (sic) to me,” Chobert wrote in the letter. “Do you need me to sign anything. How long will it take to get it.”

Other evidence shows the second witness, Cynthia White, a prostitute with 38 previous arrests on her record, had received favorable treatment in exchange for her testimony.

On Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the Criminal Justice Center in Center City to support Abu-Jamal, CBS News reports. There are also members of the police union there to see if the prisoner will get a new trial.

“This is long overdue to see our brother Mumia come home,” supporter Rafael Outland said.

“He’s been in there longer than I’ve been alive. You know, so to know that all of the evidence points in a different direction, outside of had his guilt, yes, time to bring him home. So it is time to give him a new case.”

Faulkner’s widow, Maureen Faulkner is expected to be in attendance and wants the conviction upheld.