Court: Cop killer Mumia deserves new hearing
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal for a new trial for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.
The justices did not comment on their action Monday, which leaves in place a state Supreme Court ruling upholding Abu-Jamal's murder conviction.
Separately, a federal appeals court also has upheld the conviction, but ordered a new sentencing hearing.
Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot to death after pulling over Abu-Jamal's brother in an overnight traffic stop.
The case has drawn worldwide attention.
Prosecutors say Faulkner, 25, managed to shoot Abu-Jamal during the confrontation. A wounded Abu-Jamal, his own gun lying nearby, was still at the scene when police arrived, and authorities consider the evidence against him overwhelming.
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Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook, has argued in numerous appeals that racism by the judge and prosecutors corrupted his 1982 conviction at the hands of a mostly white jury. Prosecutors, meanwhile, had appealed a federal judge's 2001 decision to grant Abu-Jamal a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions.