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Criminal Justice

Prosecutor Drops Bid for Death Penalty Against Abu-Jamal

Posted Dec 7, 2011 12:28 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A nearly 30-year effort to obtain the death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal has ended.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced today that he will no longer pursue a death sentence against the former Black Panther leader who was sentenced in 1982 for killing a police officer, the Associated Press reports.

Abu-Jamal had claimed his conviction was tainted by racism. He had supporters from around the world, including actors Mike Farrell and Tim Robbins, the AP Story says.

A federal appeals court had ordered a new sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal because of misleading jury instructions. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene.

Williams said he still believes Abu-Jamal committed the crime and he was convicted by a jury of his peers, AP says. "While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs,” Williams said.

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