Mumia Abu-Jamal has escaped the death penalty but not Maureen Faulkner.
Faulkner, the widow of the the man Abu-Jamal is convicted of killing -- Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner -- vowed to spend the rest of her life making sure no one makes life any easier for Abu-Jamal.
"Rest assured, I will now fight with every ounce of energy that I now have to see that Mumia Abu-Jamal receives absolutely no special treatment when he is removed from death row. I will not stand by and see him coddled as he has been in the past and I am heartened by the thought that he will finally be taken from the protected cloister that he has been living in all these year and begin living among his own kind – the thugs and common criminals that infest our prisons," Faulkner said on Wednesday.
Her statement, nearly seven minutes long, came after Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced he would not go through a second sentencing trial to keep Abu-Jamal on death row.
"All of this has been an unimaginable physical, emotional and financial toll on each of us. Over the past two months, we have anguished over the two terrible options we have and present what should come," Faulkner said.
Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death for the Faulkner killing. A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Abu-Jamal earlier this year after finding the instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading.
Maureen Faulkner said her family was then faced with trying to present a case thirty years later when three key witnesses were no longer even alive, and that it would be a such a spectacle and cost to taxpayers. Even if they did win again, she said they decided it wouldn't be worth going through the additional years of anguish another appeals process would bring.
"After enduring thirty years of emotional and physical hell, as I’ve suffered through the appeals process, I am now convinced that when a death sentence is at issue, the judges, the federal district courts and third circuit court of appeals simply do as they want, not as the law dictate," Faulker said.
Ultimately, the Faulkner family asked Williams to reduce the sentence for Abu-Jamal to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Stoic through most of her statement, Faulkner did break down at the end with this final thought:
In closing, I would like to say that I believe the lowest dimension of hell has been reserved for child molesters and unrepentant murderers, like Mumia Abu-Jamal. After thirty years of waiting, the time remaining before Abu-Jamal stands before his ultimate judge. It doesn’t seem so far off as it once did when I was younger. I look forward to that day so I can finally close the chapter of my life and live with the gratification and assurance that Mumia Abu-Jamal will finally receive the punishment he deserves, for all eternity.