PHILADELPHIA – An inmate sentenced to death for killing a police officer waited too long before disclosing another man's confession in the 1981 shooting, a judge ruled in refusing to order testimony from the man.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio journalist and Black Panther, was convicted in 1982 of killing officer Daniel Faulkner. Supporters believe he was framed, and he has become a symbol for activists fighting racial injustice and police brutality.
Abu-Jamal has an appeal pending and filed an emergency motion seeking a sworn deposition from Arnold Beverly, who claims he and another man were hired to kill Faulkner.
U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn rejected the motion Thursday, saying Abu-Jamal had been aware of Beverly's claim since at least June 8, 1999, but had withheld the information until May.
District Attorney Lynne Abraham has said she thinks Beverly's confession was a hoax.
Beverly claimed Faulkner was targeted by organized crime and corrupt policemen because he interfered with graft and payoffs connected with prostitution, gambling and drugs.
Abu-Jamal blames his former lawyers for not disclosing Beverly's confession sooner.
Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg said the former lawyers didn't think the confession was believable.
Yohn's ruling will not have a direct impact on Abu-Jamal's appeal, which claims he was denied a fair trial.
There was no immediate comment Saturday from Abu-Jamal's new lawyers, Marlene Kamish and Eliot Lee Grossman. Kamish has an unlisted home telephone number, and a home listing for Grossman could not be located.