California Literary Review

Murdered by Mumia: A Conversation With Maureen Faulkner


January 3rd, 2008 at 11:01 am

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Maureen Faulkner at funeral

Maureen Faulkner, with her parents, leaving her husband’s funeral in 1981

CLR INTERVIEW: In 1981, a Philadelphia police officer named Daniel Faulkner was murdered during a late night traffic stop. The conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal for his murder has become an international controversy that lays bare the contentious issues of race, judicial fairness and the death penalty. Mumia currently sits on Pennsylvania’s death row continuing to appeal his conviction. Maureen Faulkner, Daniel’s widow, has co-authored with Michael Smerconish, Murdered by Mumia, a book that gives her view of the murder, trial and appeals process. Below is her interview with the California Literary Review.

Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice
by Maureen Faulkner and Michael A. Smerconish
The Lyons Press, 368 pp.

Based on all of the court testimony that has accumulated over the years, what exactly happened on December 9th, 1981, the night of your husband’s murder?

On December 9, 1981, Danny was working the graveyard shift in Center City. Due to a set of circumstances he was alone in his car that morning and his partner, Gary Bell, was on foot. Danny observed a light blue Volkswagen driving the wrong way down 13th Street. He pulled the car over and called for “a wagon” before he exited his patrol car. The driver of the Volkswagen, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s younger brother William Cook, exited his car. Danny and Cook were talking and while Danny wasn’t looking Cook punched him in the face. Danny hit Cook over his shoulder with his flashlight and had him spread out over the hood of his patrol car when witnesses saw another man run from the parking lot across the street towards Cook and Danny. The man lifted his arm in “a shooting fashion” and fired a single shot in Danny’s back. Danny was able to turn and fire one return shot at Abu-Jamal that hit him in the abdomen. Danny then fell between the two cars onto the sidewalk. He lost his gun and was wounded. Mumia Abu-Jamal approached him as he lay unarmed and wounded on the ground and pointed his 5 shot Charter Arms revolver at Danny. He fired three more shots at him; two pierced his jacket but did not hit him. Jamal then moved closer, bent down and placed his gun to within 6 inches of Danny’s face. He fired his final shot into Danny’s forehead and the bullet came to rest in his brain. The Medical Examiner explained that he died instantly.

Abu-Jamal then attempted to flee the scene, but he fell to the ground; likely because of his wound. The first police car arrived at the scene within 70 seconds of the first shot being fired. They apprehended Mumia Abu Jamal at the scene. He had an empty shoulder holster on and a .38 Caliber Charter Arms revolver that was registered in his name lying at his side. The gun had 5 spent shells in it and each was a unique high velocity +P variety. This is the same type of ammunition that was removed from Danny’s head.

There were 5 people who actually saw all or most of the shooting (Scanlan, White, Chobert, Magilton and Harkins). Each eyewitness was less than 60 feet from the shooting and each gave a written and signed statement to different police officers in different locations that morning, most within an hour of the shooting. At the 1982 trial the prosecution called Scanlan, White, Chobert and Magilton to testify. Subsequently, Jamal’s attorneys alleged that there were several additional “eyewitnesses” who saw the real killer run from the scene, including Desie Hightower, Robert Pigford, Veronica Jones, Robert Harkins, Debra Kordanski and William Singletary. Each of these alleged eyewitnesses was called to testify at the 1995 and 1996 PCRA hearings and each either stated that they had not actually seen the shooting, but looked on the scene long after the shooting stopped, or they were found not to have testified credibly by the appellate courts. The only exception was Robert Harkins, who while testifying FOR the defense at the 1995 PCRA said the killer shot Danny and fell to the pavement. This is exactly what the prosecution’s eyewitnesses said. Much to the horror of Jamal’s attorneys Harkins testified that the killer fell to the ground in the spot where Jamal was apprehended.

Daniel Faulkner

Officer Daniel Faulkner receiving a commendation

Mumia’s supporters seem to focus on four problems with his conviction. I’d like to go through those with you. The first is that no ballistics tests were performed on the bullets that killed your husband. As the actor Ed Asner said, “The fact that no ballistics tests were done, which is pretty stupid.” Also the caliber of bullet used did not match Mumia’s gun.

Complete rubbish and pretty telling about Mike Farrell and Ed Ansner’s ability to actually know what they are talking about. In fact, numerous ballistics tests were done on the fatal bullet, Danny’s jacket, Jamal’s sweater, Jamal’s gun and on the bullet that was removed from Jamal. All anyone who really wants to know the actual facts has to do is go to our website ( where we have posted and broken down every word of testimony over the past 26 years. All you need to do is click on the testimony of Anthony Paul (the prosecution’s ballistic expert), George Fassnacht (Jamal’s ballistics expert) and Charles Tomosa (the medical examiner) and you will see days of testimony about the ballistics tests that were run.

The next claim is that Mumia had an unprepared, incompetent attorney representing him at his initial trial.

While Jamal’s supporters don’t like to acknowledge it, Anthony Jackson was referred to Jamal by his friends at the Association of Black Journalists. Jackson wasn’t some loser attorney who was thrust on Jamal. Jackson testified to the fact that he went to the hospital and met with Jamal and that Jamal personally selected him to be his attorney. Jackson was highly competent and experienced. He had worked for the DA’s office and as a private investigator before becoming a lawyer. Because Jamal was broke, Jackson approached Judge Sabo and asked if the state would pay his fees for Jamal. Sabo agreed and allotted over $14,000 (in 1981 dollars) to pay Jackson for his work and for investigative costs. Jackson admitted at the 1995 PCRA hearing that he had handled at least 20 first degree murder cases before taking on Jamal’s case and that he had only lost 6 of those cases. This is an extremely good record as most people accused of murder ultimately are found guilty. Jackson said he was always prepared for trial. He stated that he had read each of the dozens of witness statements many times and that he had studied the results of all ballistics tests multiple times. He also admitted that he met on several occasions with Jamal’s ballistics expert to get a better understanding of the reports.

Jackson said that he was constantly hampered by Jamal’s incessant demands to represent himself, his demands to be represented by John Africa and his outbursts and verbal attacks on the judge, the prosecutor, the US legal system and Jackson himself. All of these things were done by Jamal in front of the jury. All of this information can also be found at our website. It’s easy to use. You click on Anthony Jackson and you go right to his testimony.

The third bone of contention is that a policeman remembered Mumia’s hospital confession a full two months after the murder.

Gary Bell and Gary Wakshul did report Abu-Jamal’s outburst of, “I shot the mother fucker and I hope the mother fucker dies.” two months after the event. They explained that they were so shaken by seeing their partner and fellow officer die that they didn’t realize the importance of what they had heard. However, Priscilla Durham, a hospital security guard with no axe to grind with Jamal, reported the outburst to her supervisor that morning. She testified to this at both the 1982 trial and at the 1995 PCRA hearing. A copy of the report was produced at trial in 1982 and she confirmed that the report stated exactly what she had heard.

Wall mural in England

Finally, Mumia was a successful journalist in Philadelphia who was espousing radical political views and the courts and police conspired to silence him by framing him for murder.

Abu-Jamal was a low level freelance “journalist” at one point in his life. He also worked for one of the local radio stations for a while, but he was fired about a year before he shot Danny. The truth is that by December 9, 1981 Mumia Abu-Jamal was completely out of journalism. When he murdered my husband he was driving a cab for a living and packing a gun loaded with devastating high velocity bullets. Additionally, there is absolutely no evidence that Jamal ever reported on police abuse in Philadelphia (and there was abuse at that time). Those reporters who did report on police abuse said, “He was a nobody.”

William Marimow was part of a team of reporters that reported on police brutality for The Philadelphia Inquirer and received the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1978. Marimow told Buzz Bissinger, also a Pulitzer Prize recipient, that he has no recollection of Abu-Jamal ever doing anything on the subject of police brutality in Philadelphia. What Marimow said was, “I was very attuned to everyone who wrote about Philadelphia police violence. This guy didn’t register a blip on my radar screen. It’s a shame what they have made him out to be.”

Mumia and his brother are the two who obviously know the most about what transpired the night of your husband’s murder. What is their version of what happened?

I feel that what William Cook didn’t say is more telling that what he did say. His brother may be executed, he’s being accused of a murder he didn’t commit and William Cook, who was standing right next to my husband when he was murdered, has never given any explanation about what REALLY happened beyond saying, “I ain’t got nothing to do with this.” to the first police on the scene.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has never offered any explanation of what happened the morning my husband was murdered before his eyes. It’s a rule that if you meet with Jamal you are forbidden to discuss Danny’s murder. It’s a farce and I can’t see how anyone with an ounce of honesty and decency would support him and argue for his release if he and his brother refuse to do so for themselves.

Colleges have had Mumia Abu-Jamal as their commencement speaker; Paris, France made him an honorary citizen; and the rock group Rage Against the Machine held a huge concert-fundraiser for him. What is your emotional reaction to events like these?

It angers me greatly.

A 2000 Paris, France protest in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal

What is the current legal status of this case?

His case is currently being considered by the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals process can go on forever if you have sympathetic judges. The 3rd Circuit can deny his 3 remaining issues in which case he will appeal to the US supreme Court, they can send the case back down to the District Court of Appeals for further consideration or they can send it back to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and it would have to work its way back up. Worst of all they can give him a new trial based on a technicality and it will be as if the past 26 years never happened. The system is criminal and it needs to be changed and streamlined so it favors victims not killers. I’m not an attorney, but I am a survivor who has spent 26 years battling the appeals process and think one State and one Federal appeal within 5 years should be sufficient to prove innocence or guilt and to show if any constitutional rights have been violated during the trial.

Maureen Faulkner

Maureen Faulkner, 2008

Why is Mumia’s death important to you? Would a firm declaration by the court of his guilt, coupled with a sentence of “life without parole” be acceptable to you?

The dirty little secret that few want to acknowledge is that there is no such thing as life without parole in the US. There are many ways a lifer can get off in the future. It happens. Additionally, there will always be dishonest or misguided people who will lie and lobby for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s release.

There already has been a firm declaration of Jamal’s guilt issued by “the court”. Just read the findings of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. (Like everything else they are posted on our website and easy to find.) The courts aren’t arguing about Jamal’s guilt any longer. That’s been proven. What they are arguing now is hair splitting procedural technicalities.

Unless Mumia Abu-Jamal is executed my family and I will never have any closure and we will always live in fear that some day in the future the phone will ring and we’ll be told that he has been set free. It wasn’t my choice to give him the death penalty. A jury of 12 people that Jamal personally helped to select felt death was the appropriate sentence for his crime. In my opinion the courts have been very remiss in upholding their duty to enforce the law and the will of the people in any semblance of an appropriate timeframe. But there’s not much I can do about that.

  • Hans Bennett

    Hmmm…. where to start on the factual errors/lies presented here by Faulkner? For the sake of saving space, I will mostly defer to this flyer I wrote debunking MURDERED’s evidence:

    Faulkner says that hospital security guard reported the confession that morning. Well, this report was never mentioned until her actual trial testimony (after 2+ months she reported the confession to police, but there was no mention of this “report”) and at this point, the DA sent someone to the hospital to retrieve the “report.” A report was brought back that was typed (Durham disavowed this report because she said it had been hand-written and NOT typed) and not signed by anyone. Judge Sabo allowed this as evidence even though Durham disavowed it and the defense protested its authenticity. Looks like Ms. Faulkner purposefully misrepresented this to your readers, huh?

    This misrepresentation is simply the tip of the iceberg, so for an explanation of more misrepresentations/lies I encourage folks to read the flyer I wrote.

    Also, please go and check out the Journalists for Mumia website ( which compiles the best of today’s journalism on the Abu-Jamal case, and also presents the new crime scene photos that were recently presented on NBC’s Today Show when Faulkner was a guest:

    About the photos, Faulkner was asked the following week on National Public Radio ( about one of the photos, which shows PO Forbes’ mishandling PO Faulkner’s and Abu-Jamal’s guns. She said: “I don’t know if his hands are actually on the grip of the gun, it seems like he has his finger holding the gun through the actual trigger part, but not on the handle of the gun. At that time, I’m sure the evidence was somewhat contaminated.”

    Check these photos out. They’re explosive!

  • Michael Schiffmann

    An Iceberg of Distortions and Lies

    – On Paul Comstock’s “Conversation with Maureen Faulkner” –

    by Michael Schiffmann

    As Hans Bennett, co-founder with myself of “Journalists for Mumia,” correctly says in his first comment on Paul Comstock’s “Conversation with Maureen Faulkner,” published by the California Literary Review, it’s hard to find out where to begin, since this whole interview consists of a series of multiple falsifications on the part of Maureen Faulkner.

    It is painful to see how the ways in which an indubitable personal tragedy where a young woman lost her husband abruptly and violently has been transformed into a mindless cam-paign of hatred and disinformation.

    In personal terms, I wouldn’t put the blame for this mainly on Maureen Faulkner, whose con-tinuing anger at the person who she assumes to be the murderer of her husband is perhaps understandable, but on people who should and most certainly could know better, such as Faulkner’s co-author Michael Smerconish, their fellow campaigner for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s death Ed Rendell, and many others who are not tied to that case in as close a manner as Mau-reen Faulkner but are even superseding her in their greed to see Abu-Jamal executed.

    That said, let me comment on Maureen Faulkner’s answers to the questions posed to her one by one, answers for which she alone must be held responsible.

    First question: “Based on all of the court testimony that has accumulated over the years, what exactly happened on December 9th, 1981, the night of your husband’s murder?”

    Faulkner descriptions here are wrong right from the start. There is no evidence whatsoever that Abu-Jamal’s brother Billy Cook drove the wrong way on 13th Street and was stopped for this alleged traffic violation. In fact, prosecution witness Albert Magilton explicitly stated at the trial that Cook approached the scene driving in the right direction (East) on Locust. So much for reading the trial transcripts!

    I won’t bother giving the exact locations of this and further information taken from the trial transcripts here since the advocates of the execution of Abu-Jamal to which Maureen Faulk-ner (in the following: MF) also belongs have elevated the trial protocols of the Abu-Jamal to some kind of Gospel truth which disqualifies anyone who hasn’t read all of its 5,000+ pages to even comment on the case – so I assume they can find the information I am referring to here with ease.

    Should they feel that in their diligent study of this material hey have overlooked something, there is no quote for my following claims I couldn’t give immediately.

    To resume the description of the events, Abu-Jamal’s brother Billy Cook had done nothing wrong in driving his VW in the proscribed Eastern direction on Locust, and not on 13th, as claimed by MF, when he was stopped by Officer Faulkner.

    The description of what followed is also false. Officer Faulkner (in the following: DF for Daniel Faulkner) did not mainly hit Billy Cook’s shoulder, but rather, his head, as evidenced by police protocols of the time and even prosecution witnesses.

    Furthermore, MF raises the claim that “Danny hit Cook over his shoulder with his flashlight and had him spread out over the hood of his patrol car when witnesses saw another man run from the parking lot across the street towards Cook and Danny.”

    Yet the prosecution’s main witness Cynthia White, whose story of the events changed in the most remarkable pro-prosecution ways over time has always been adamant about one point, namely, that the whole confrontation of Officer Faulkner beating Cook and Abu-Jamal shoot-ing Faulkner in the back took place on the sidewalk of the South side of Locust Street.

    But how could Abu-Jamal, who approached the scene undisputedly from the North, then get, and of all things unnoticed, into the back of the officer to shoot him? He would have had to have run past Faulkner, circle or at least half-circle him without the officer reacting or even noticing, and then have started to shoot at him!

    And after that remarkable feat, he would have had to have been stupid enough to wait for the officer to whirl around to fire back at him!

    With that alleged “return” shot, the egregious mistakes and falsifications continue. Abu-Jamal was not shot in the abdomen,” but in the chest, causing a wound that could have easily cost him his life and probably would have had the officers assigned to guard and transport him, Gary Wakshul and Steven Trombetta, carried on with their intention to drive this gravely wounded man to the police HQ instead to the very nearby Jefferson Hospital.

    Astonishingly, what follows is also simply wrong. Officer Faulkner did not fall “between the two cars,” i.e., Faulkner’s and Cook’s, on the sidewalk, as claimed here, but finally came to lie between Billy Cook’s VW and a car parked in front of the VW.

    Some of these details aren’t particularly interesting in themselves – what is shocking here, in my view, is that people who claim to have left no stone unturned, to have read all the many pages of the trial protocols and to finally tell the really true story can’t seem to get even the most elementary facts right.

    But it gets worse, in fact, much worse. MF claims that after Faulkner lay defenselessly on the pavement, Abu-Jamal “fired three more shots at him; two pierced his jacket but did not hit him.”

    Flat wrong again. One shot, by an assailant yet to be determined in a new trial unpolluted by the bias of MF as well as many others and the Pennsylvania courts so far, pierced Faulkner’s jacket at the shoulder, once in the front, and once, exiting, in the back. One would think that Officer Faulkner’s widow and her attorney would know at least that much about how Daniel Faulkner died, but it simply doesn’t seem to matter.

    Even more important, however, are the implications of MF’s claim about how Officer Faulk-ner was killed. Let us concede, even though it is wrong, that two bullets pierced Officers Faulkner’s jacket without hitting him as he lay, defenselessly, on the ground. Where did these bullets end up? As is documented by the official police photograph of the area where Faulkner was killed, a following press photograph taken on the following morning, and by now also numerous photographs taken literally minutes after the shooting by freelance press photogra-pher Pedro P. Polakoff, there isn’t the slightest trace of any such bullet whatsoever at the im-mediate scene of Officer Faulkner’s death.

    Had such bullets been fired at the sidewalk in the manner described by MF, the bullets them-selves, parts of these bullets or clearly observable divots containing lead residue from these bullets would have had to have been very visible in the sidewalk. None of the available photos shows any of this.

    That means that MF’s account of what happened is false, even though there were three prose-cution witnesses at Abu-Jamal’s trial who testified to something that was at least similar – they all testified to a murderer who fired several shots at the prone Faulkner allegedly lying on the sidewalk when he was shot.

    The many photos of that very same area now conclusively prove that this version of what happened is wrong, and that the witnesses who – by and large identically – testified to it must have had some other motive than simply wanting to recount the truth of what they saw. They couldn’t have seen what they claimed they saw, at the trial that ended in Abu-Jamal’s sen-tence to die.

    But MF goes even further in her claims; she claims to know that the killer – in her version, Abu-Jamal – first missed his prone victim three times and then “placed his gun to within 6 inches of Danny’s face. He fired his final shot into Danny’s forehead and the bullet came to rest in his brain.”

    All fantasy, including the 6 inch bit. In his opening statement, prosecutor Joseph McGill talked about twelve inches, and in his trial testimony for the prosecution, Dr. Hoyer talked about “within 23 inches.” But it’s, in MF’s sense, nice, and inflammatory, so why not just tell something for dramatic effect even though the facts are unknown?

    The same is true of the sentence about the “final shot.” Read the trial protocols, which I agree are a great source despite the monstrous bias of the prosecution and the judge and the pain-fully weak performance of a defense lawyer deliberately put into an impossible position!

    Who of the prosecution witnesses at the trial, or who else for that matter, ever claimed to have seen which of the alleged shots at the prone Faulkner killed him? But don’t let get even tainted testimony, such as the one by the prosecution’s eyewitnesses at the trial who as we now know wrongly claimed having seen the shooter firing away at a sidewalk that emerged completely undamaged from said shooting – don’t let even such testimony get in the way of a dramatic story where the fanatic cop-killing ex-Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal does not rest in firing his gun until he has succeeded in “offing” the cop!

    MF’s story about this is totally unsupported by the trial protocols that she and the supporters of Abu-Jamal’s execution permanently try to beat everyone over the head with – but facts, even the fact about what your own side has said at various times, simply don’t count when your business is whipping up people into a mindless frenzy of bloodlust and hatred.

    Well, as so often Hans Bennett was right after all – I just spent two and a half hours and pages to deal with just one paragraph in the interview in question. There is hardly a sentence in Mrs. Faulkner’s responses in this interview that is not twisted, flat wrong, or outright absurd.

    This is doubly sad, since for one thing the tragedy suffered by Maureen Faulkner 26 years ago is undeniable – but so is the tragedy of Mumia Abu-Jamal who was separated from his wife, children and loved ones to be put on death row, on the basis of exactly the spurious “facts” that Mrs. Faulkner now sees as her task to disseminate to an audience as wide as possible.

    Stay posted for the rest of my analysis of this interview.

  • Pat DiMauro

    The evidence is absolutely overwhelming in this case. It is one of the most open and shut murder cases in the history of Pennsylvania. Mumia was on the scene, he had the murder weapon, he was shot by Fulkner’s gun and bullets from his own gun were in Faulkner. In addition, there were 5 eyewitnesses that saw him commit the murder. Even if you do not believe his confession, these facts alone prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Also, Mumia has never said that he did not murder Faulkner, nor has his own brother. I do not think that any reasonable individual can look at the case and conclude that he did not murder Faulkner. I believe that some of his supporters are not reasonable people and that the rest know he murdered Faulkner but could care less about this poor policeman’s death.


    Mumia’s supporters will never be swayed by actual facts. They are blinded by luv!!

  • Hans Bennett

    Of course, the “open and shut” argument is central to Faulkner’s new book and has long been the rallying cry of the FRY MUMIA lynch mob. This argument is completely fraudulent and must overlook numerous inconsistencies and strong evidence of both a police frame-up (manipulated evidence, coerced witness testimony, a fabricated “confession,” racist jury selection, and a terrifying statement from Albert “hanging judge” Sabo that he would use his judicial power to help the prosecution “fry the nigger”) and Mumia’s actual innocence—not to mention an obviously unfair trial.

    It is interesting that Pat DiMauro is not concerned by the fabricated hosptial confession, since it reveals several important things. (1) Maureen Faulkner purposefully misrepresented the facts in this interview (specifically regarding Priscilla Durham). (2) Police LIED both in the official police report taken 2 months later, and in court. This is perjury–a very serious offense, and the implications are serious.

    If police were willing to fabricate this confession to convict Mumia, what else were they capable of? Particularly when there is so much other suspicious evidence that strongly suggests a police frame-up. This, of course, leads us to the issue of ballistics.

    Pat says that “bullets from his own gun were in Faulkner.” This is another fabrication (lie). Only one bullet was recovered in Faulkner. The bullet shot into his back exited below his throat, and apparently took Faulkner’s clip-tie with it. Where was this tie found? Across the street in the same direction Mumia ran from. This suggests that Faulkner was shot from behind while he was looking in Mumia’s direction (across the street). If Mumia shot Faulkner in the back, the tie (and the bullet) should have been up on the curbside–not across the street. This lends even more evidence to the theory that Faulkner was shot by a third person, likely Kenneth Freeman, who was the passenger in Mumia’s brother’s car.

    Then, of course there is the problem of the “missing divots” that Michael Schiffmann wrote about in his commentary, which shows that the prosecution scenario was incorrect and eyewitness testimony supporting it was almost certainly the result of police coercion.

    Now, let’s return to Pat’s statement that the bullets were linked to Mumia’s gun. Check this out:

    —Police never officially performed the standard “wipe test” checking for gunshot residue on Abu-Jamal’s hands and clothing, or the “smell test” on his gun, which Amnesty International has criticized as “deeply troubling.”

    —44 or 38 Caliber? The original medical examiner’s report (never seen by the 1982 jury) stated that the deadly bullet was a .44 caliber. Abu-Jamal’s gun was a .38 caliber, Charter Arms revolver, which uses a significantly smaller bullet than a .44. Later, the official police ballistician, Anthony Paul, would conclude that the bullet was a .38. This initial contradiction is arguably suspicious, but even if the medical examiner made a legitimate mistake, the evidence presented by the DA about the alleged .38 bullet is also contradictory and inconclusive.

    —Particular rifling traits identify a particular bullet as coming from one specific gun. Official police experts have always said that the fatal bullet was too damaged to link the particular traits to Abu-Jamal’s gun.

    —General rifling traits can only link a bullet to a particular type of gun. In his report, Paul first identified the bullet’s general traits as “indeterminable.” Contradicting himself in the same report, Paul later noted a general trait: a “right-hand direction of twist.” Paul’s 1982 trial testimony then went further by identifying another general trait never mentioned in his written report “8 lands and 8 grooves.” Therefore, after deeming the general traits “indeterminable,” Paul then alleged two general traits that served to further implicate Abu-Jamal’s gun type.

    —Multiples of Millions? Even if these general traits cited by Paul did exist on the bullet, it was not a reliable link to Abu-Jamal’s gun. The defense asked Paul in 1982, “approximately, how many millions of guns have eight lands and grooves and how many would provide this bullet?” He acknowledged that it could have come from “multiples of millions,” including many millions of guns not manufactured by Charter Arms.

    Mumia needs a new trial. Anyone who says this case is “open and shut” is either misinformed or an outright liar. For more on Faulkner’s new book check out this review from Princeton University Professor Mark L. Taylor:

  • John Fraser

    “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” –Stephen King

    I tend to mistrust the abundance of adverbs myself. I also tend to suspect that the user of abundant adverbs mistrusts the very words he intends to advance. It appears the supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal have a penchant for adverbs. Strongly, clearly, completely, significantly mark their commentaries. There is an anger, understandably, lurking under each “l-y.” But I sense the anger is not only with the “liars” who support the killing of Abu-Jamal, but with their hero and the facts his actions have left them with. I know when I say that something “clearly” happened I am almost uncertain whether it did clearly happen. We tend to use adverbs in the absence of facts, a place Abu-Jamal has left his devoted supporters.

  • Michael Schiffmann

    The characteristic feature of most postings advocating the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal is that they don’t respond to any argument.

    All the same, I will summarize important points of the argument Hans Bennett and I am making in a short form. For the rest, I refer readers to our previous postings and our website

    The “open and shut” argument of Abu-Jamal’s foes rests on three pillars:

    1. eyewitness testimony about the shooting, 2. earwitness testimony about a confession, 3. cop testimony about abu-Jamal’s gun at the scene.

    We deny the veracity of the testimony listed under 1., 2., and 3. Let’s consider these three points:

    1. Three witnesses testified that the person who shot Faulkner stood over the prone officer and fired several shots at him. Two of these witnesses claimed to have recognized Abu-Jamal as the shooter.

    The account of these three witnesses, which was decisive for the outcome of the trial, cannot be true. Had the killing occured the way they describe it, there would have been divots in the sidewalk around Faulkner’s head visible to the naked eye. There are none.

    Conclusion: Since the testimony of the three witnesses was identical in the relevant regard AND does not give a true account of what happened, it must be manufactured.

    2. In all, five persons – two hospital security guards and three cops -claimed to have heard Abu-Jamal make incriminating statements. Two of them, a security guard and a cop, testified at the trial, with an effect devastating to Abu-Jamal.

    These witnesses lied. The two security guards reported Abu-Jamal’s confession to the police no earlier than February 9, 1982. The first cop reported it on February 11, the one who testified at the trial on February 25, and the last cop to report a confession – different from what the others reported – did this on March 1, 1982.

    None of these people, all security personnel, three of thzem cops entertained the idea that a confession is important evidence and that the police should hear about it?

    How gullible can you get? This story about the belated recollection of a confession is not believable. As for the security guard who claimed to have reported it to her superiors the following day – why didn’t he superiors report it to the police? Where they crazy, or stupid, or in favor of cop killers?

    Conclusion: The likelihhood that not one, but five cops/security guards forgot the confession for two months or more is as big as Hans Bennett becoming president of the United States in the next election. The confession, too, never happened – it was manufactured.

    3. Two cops testified at the trial that they saw Abu-Jamal’s gun right beside him. After the eyewitnesses and the earwitnesses mentioned under 1. and 2., this was the proverbial icing on the cake.

    These two cops are also not credible. As shown in newly available photos, one of these cops mishandles Abu-Jamal’s and Faulkner’s guns, even though he swore at the trial to have treated them properly. The other cop claimed at the trial that when he saw the gun within Abu-Jamal’s reach, he first kicked Abu-Jamal and then the gun – but no further than one foot, in order to preserve evidence.

    The one cop is a proven liar – the photos show it. The claim of the other cop is absurd.

    Conclusion: These witnesses, too, manufactured their testimony. Nothing they said at the trial can be taken at face value, including their claim to have found Abu-Jamal’s gun beside him.

    General conclusion: A closer examination reduces the three pillars of the prosecution to rubbish.

    An open and shut case? No way! The “waterproof” evidence of the prosecution does not stand up to scrutiny. It is rather a case of “No evidence – no case!”, which is why I’ve been calling for Abu-Jamal’s release since I’ve made myself familiar with the topic.

    A new trial in which all the evidence is examined is certainly – here, Mr. Frazer, do you finally have your two adverbs – the minimum that Mumia Abu-Jamal deserves.

  • John Fraser

    I don’t oppose a new trial. There is much to question in this case and I think it has been done thoughtfully in this forum. My point dealt more with the uneasiness I sense with many of Abu-jamal’s supporters; a reflection, perhaps, that many of these supporters are willing to go further than the incarceree is himself. The logic and values inherent in our judicial system demand a new trial, this I don’t dispute. But the court of public opinion demands more than criticism of police procedure. Exoneration is one thing, the truth is another. Why is Abu-Jamal silent?

  • Hans Bennett

    Hi John, I’m glad to hear that you support a new trial. As far as seeking truth, I think that a new trial is the best way to try and find that truth. Its true that police/prosecutorial/judicial misconduct does not necessarily mean that Mumia is innocent, but showing that misconduct is the legal avenue for getting that new trial.

    Further, Maureen Faulkner and others adamantly oppose this new trial, so it is very important for us to show the case’s serious flaws, so that we can challenge Faulkner’s argument that it is an “open and shut” case. If we can challenge this notion, and get a new trial, then this will be the best avenue for finding the truth.

    As author Dave Lindorff has pointed out, most defendants do not testify unless absolutely necessary because it is generally seen as bad legal strategy–whereas a defendant is vulnerable to cross-examination. So, I don’t think that his lack of testimony should be held against him. Also, Mumia stated that he wasn’t testifying because he did not want to validate an unfair trial.

    For the record, though, Mumia did sign an affidavit giving his account of the night, in 2001, but the courts would not allow it to be entered in as evidence. In his statement he says that he was shot as he approached the scene, lost consciousness, and woke up to a vicious police beating. So, technically he has given a statement, but this is rarely recognized.

  • Kevin Watkins

    None of these Mumidiots cite any scholarly sources such as actual case documents or unbiased articles. Directing people to sites like does not count because they have more fairy tales than the Grimm brothers. Mumia has never claimed he did not shoot Faulkner, neither has his brother. He had Faulkner’s bullet in his mid-section and his own, registered gun a few feet away still smoking. The bullets taken out of Faulkner do match the ballistics for Mumia’s gun and that fact has stood up on appeal as the tests have been redone. He absolutely murdered officer Daniel Faulkner and he will be locked up for the remainder of his natural life. Want to read the real story about all of these myths being discussed here? Go to This site has credible sources.

  • Hans Bennett

    Kevin, I think your comment here really helps our side, since it reveals the close-minded and fanatical mentality of the FRY MUMIA lynch mob. Without challenging any of our specific facts that were thoughtfully presented, you call us “Dummies4Mumia”. In fact, the very point of our website is to provide rock-solid journalistic and scholarly analysis and reporting on this controversial case.

    This mentality of yours and others is precisely why the FRY MUMIA lynch mob was so upset by The Today Show’s Matt Lauer presenting Mumia supporters as people with a legitimate opinion that deserved to be fairly presented along with the viewpoints of Faulkner and Smerconish.

    By the way, even if one gives the police and prosecution the benefit of doubt regarding all of the many contradictions in ballistics evidence, the recovered bullet was never tied to Mumia’s gun–just to “multiples of millions” of .38 caliber guns, including many millions of guns not manufactured by Charter Arms. If Mumia’s gun was “smoking,” why didn’t police officially do a “smell test”?

    I also find it amusing that, immediately following my post regarding Mumia’s testimony and account of Dec. 9, 1981, you actually re-state one of the FRY MUMIA crowd’s biggest lies ever: that Mumia has never stated his innocence!

    Gosh, you really are doing me a big favor by revealing yourself as a complete liar. Thanks.

    I encourage readers to visit both and my site and see for themselves.

  • Kevin Watkins

    I never once said “Fry Mumia” you dope. If you are against the death penalty, that is all well and good. But this man was convicted by a jury of his peers that he himself helped select. I do not care if he is executed, but he should remain in prison for the rest of his life for the first-degree murder of police officer Danial Faulkner.

    You know nothing about police work Hans. A “smell test” is movie garbage. No credible evidence can be gained from having one officer small a handgun. It is completely subjective and you can’t prove the officer right or wrong in the courtroom. Imagine for example that he had smelled that the gun was recently fired. You would just dismiss it anyway as another deceitful cop in this massive conspiracy theory to keep Mumia behind bars.

    A Trace Metal Detection Test was done in 1982 and it showed traces of primer lead residue on Jamal’s clothes. This is an acceptable form of evidence and it is absolutely incontrovertible.

    Also, the bullet that killed Faulkner was a .38 caliber +P bullet with a hollow base and the rifling characteristics on the slug matched Mumia’s handgun. Jamal’s gun was found a few feet from him loaded with +P bullets that have a hollow base.

    Finally, there were witnesses to the murder that saw Mumia murder Faulkner. These witnesses did not know each other and had no reason to conspire together against Jamal. However, even if all the eyewitness testimony was faulty as you claim, the ballistics evidence alone is enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I have the facts and all you have are conspiracy theories. Please visit for FACTS supported by trial transcripts and scholarly sources. This website does not cite biased freshman term papers like

  • Hans Bennett

    To address just one of your points, police did NOT officially perform a Trace Metal Detection Test. This is one of the things that concerned Amnesty International, who concluded that “the failure of the police to test Abu-Jamal’s gun, hands, and clothing is deeply troubling.”

  • Kevin Watkins

    The Trace Metal Detection Test was performed in 1982 and Jamal’s own lawyer, Leonard Weinglass, has acknowledged this fact. The crime scene investigation expert, Charles Tumosa, testified to his findings on 6/26/1982 and 6/28/1982. The findings not only suggested that Jamal had shot Faulkner, but also that he had done so from a distance of less than 2 feet. Look on It cites they actual trial testimony and case data.

  • waldo

    check this out if you want to objectively review the two sides of the story. This website is a systematic analysis of the responses by Maureen Falkner on the theses put forward by the free Mumia movement:

    Whatever the thruth may be, a man can not be locked away or sentenced to death on such dubious facts, a new trial should be set up.

  • Fleiter

    To the Free Mumia crowd, two questions:

    !. Why has William Cook never said anything publicly in defense of his brother?

    2. Why was Mumia shot by Danny Faulkner?

  • Gangwer

    Read the transcripts. Every “alternative scenario” mentioned by the news media, MOVE members, or anyone else has been found to have absolutely no factual basis. It makes the theories surrounding the Kennedy assasination look like child’s play. Even the comments submitted by the authors above have no factual basis. Basically, lies have been “proven” with lies. Most of the lies have been pseudo dream team analysis after the fact that were never brought up originally. The “defense team” has blamed the judge, used fictitious statements on the stand, and presented false witnesses. Even the ideas mentioned above, about written vs typed statements, delays, etc. are all total bunk. The group behind this man make the propaganda of the Nazis look like a cheap news leaflet. There is no way to read the trial transcripts, or any other official record, and believe a word of this crap. The man walked across the street, shot the officer in the BACK from less than two feet, then finished him off point blank to the head. Suspect found at scene with officers bullet in him, ballistics match to bullets from suspects gun to officer, gun at scene next to owner (legally purchased gun in 79′), statements at hospital heard by more than one person, eyewitnesses at scene (two of them black). It has everything but video…………but it was a conspiracy?

    Like Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid”

  • Alexander Baron

    The case again Abu-Jamal is overwhelming, if you can’t convict him, you can’t convict anyone. The one anomaly is the so-called missing divots. Anyone have any thoughts on that, apart from the usual Mumidiot lunatic garbage?


  • jonh

    all that is black if he were a white boy with blue eyes until he had been given grace.

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