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Widow outraged as convicted cop-killer gets chance to appeal

Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing an officer in 1981

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A convicted cop killer is getting a chance to appeal his sentence and the officer's widow is outraged.

What happened?

Judge Leon Tucker on Thursday granted Mumia Abu-Jamal the opportunity to appeal his 1981 conviction in the death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, Fox News reported.

Abu-Jamal spent three decades on death row before his sentence was thrown out due to "flawed jury instructions." Prosecutors agreed to change Abu-Jamal's sentenced to life without parole.

In 2012, his final appeal was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But Tucker ruled that former Justice Ronald Castille should have recused himself because he made statements as a prosecutor about police killers that suggested potential bias.

"They shouldn't have been able to raise the issue about me, because they never asked me to recuse myself,' Castille, now retired, told The Associated Press. "The court...knew I'd signed off on the appeal, but I had nothing to do with the trial."

Faulkner's widow is outraged.

"I'm absolutely outraged with Leon Tucker," Maureen Faulker told Fox News. “Tucker has no merit on this judgment. [Castille] had nothing to say about Mumia Abu-Jamal, he had no prejudice. This is going to open the door for so many murderers to be able to do this and appeal this."

Officer Faulkner got into a physical confrontation with Abu-Jamal's younger brother, William Cook during a routine traffic stop. Abu-Jamal was nearby and ran over and shot Faulkner in the back and face, according to reports.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal shot my husband between the eyes, he executed my husband," Faulker told Fox News. "I'm never going to let this go. All over the country, they're reducing sentences on murderers, they're allowing them out of prison, and it's wrong. It's so wrong."

What message does the widow have?

The police officer's widow said she had a message for Tucker.

"To Judge Leon Tucker: I hope you can sleep at night with the decision you made, because you know it was not the right one," she said.

From behind prison bars, Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, became a vocal critic of the American justice system and claimed racial bias defined his 1982 trial. He also received support and recognition from death-penalty opponents and criminal justice reform advocates.

One last thing…
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