From Publishers Weekly
In this account of the trial of controversial death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, O'Connor, editor and publisher of crimemagazine.com, clearly lays out his case that Abu-Jamal should receive at least a new trial, if not complete exoneration. O'Connor asserts that Abu-Jamal was framed for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner because of a vendetta by Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo and the police due to Abu-Jamal's defense, as a journalist, of the cultish countercultural group MOVE. Relying heavily on court transcripts and prior books on the case, O'Connor shows what he sees as the judge's bias, troubled relations between Abu-Jamal and his defense lawyer and dubious statements by various witnesses. Abu-Jamal was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death; later overturned, the sentence could still be reinstated pending a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In the wake of Faulkner's widow's recent book alleging Abu-Jamal's guilt, it's difficult to be swayed entirely by O'Connor's arguments, but he makes a strong case that the investigation into Faulkner's murder deserves another look. (May)
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Journalist O’Connor reopens the story of internationally known death-row-inmate Abu-Jamal, a crime reporter convicted in Philadelphia in 1982 for killing police officer Daniel Faulkner. Fans of true crime and police-procedural mysteries will enjoy the sequential logic of O’Connor’s case as he provides background and context for his assertion that the 27-year-old “brilliant” and gentle Abu-Jamal was framed. As a teenager Abu-Jamal was arrested and beaten by police for protesting a George Wallace rally; a year later he joined the Black Panther Party, seen by the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States.” Closer to home were Philly’s then-mayor Frank Rizzo, the city’s concerted effort to neutralize a small radical movement called MOVE, and district attorney Lynne Abraham, “known as ‘The Queen of Death’ because of her zeal for seeking the death penalty.” Her prosecutors sent more than 100 Philly blacks to death row during her 16 years in office. A complex and compelling read that rivals established TV hits while tackling real-life injustice. --Whitney Scott