Phila. officer's widow speaks ahead of Mumia Abu-Jamal's hearing

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A man serving life in prison for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer will have a hearing in court on Monday.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has petitioned the district attorney's office to vacate his previous failed attempts at appeals, which would allow him to re-appeal his case.

On Sunday, ahead of the hearing, Officer Daniel Faulkner's widow spoke to Action News.

Maureen Faulkner says she wants Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and his team to remember the pain she's endured for more than 30 years.

"I want to enjoy my life, but I never know when the phone is going to ring or I'm going to read a newspaper article that this case has once again come up," Faulkner said.

She is back in Philadelphia again for the court hearing for the man found guilty of shooting and killing her husband back almost 37 years ago.

Faulkner says reliving those moments never gets easy.

"I remember being in the courtroom and seeing the holes in Dan's police jacket where he must have been writhing from side to side to avoid the bullets," Faulkner said.

Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence. Through decades of trying to appeal, Abu-Jamal has become a symbol for groups seeking judicial reform.

Now, his legal team thinks they may have found a new way for an appeal after all these years.

Mumia's legal team is petitioning under the Post-Conviction Relief Act or PCRA, arguing his rights were violated when trying to appeal his case numerous times because of State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille.

Castille was a former Philadelphia District Attorney and, as a prosecutor, he prevailed in getting the State Supreme Court to uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction.

The defense will likely argue when Castille became a State Supreme Court justice he showed bias towards Abu-Jamal, denying his legal challenges made in numerous appeal attempts.

If Abu-Jamal's team is successful during the hearing Monday, his right to appeal again will be reinstated.

That is something Faulkner says she has feared might happen for decades.

"Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered my husband so what they're doing now is they're trying to find technicalities to get him out of prison 37 years later. I will continue to fight until my death to keep this man behind bars," Faulkner said.

Abu-Jamal had previously been sentenced to death, but that has since been changed to life in prison without parole.

The hearing will be held in Center City.

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Watch the report from Bob Brooks on Action News 11 p.m. on April 29, 2018.

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