Former Black Panther and convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal will get a new appeals hearing after a Philadelphia prosecutor dropped his opposition to it on Wednesday.
In December, a Philadelphia judge granted Abu-Jamal the right to re-argue his appeal when it was revealed that the justice who initially heard it had overseen his prosecution as district attorney.
The current Philadelphia district attorney, Larry Krasner, initially fought the decision, arguing that it could affect a number of convictions in the city. Krasner dropped his opposition on Wednesday.
Abu-Jamal served decades on death row for the 1981 slaying of Daniel Faulkner, a 25-year-old Philadelphia cop. During a traffic stop, he shot Faulkner in the back and the face.
Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2011 over flawed jury instructions. During his time on death row, however, he became a liberal cause celebre for his activism. He published a book, “Live from Death Row,” while in jail in 1996 and gained fame over allegations of racial bias in his case.
In a statement to NBC Philadelphia, Faulkner’s widow slammed the decision to give Abu-Jamal another shot at freedom.
“Larry Krasner promised my family and me that he would do everything within his power to keep my husband’s remorseless killer in prison for the rest of his life,” Maureen Faulkner said in the statement. “We believe today’s decision not to appeal has broken that promise.”