Widow marks 25 years and salutes the D.A.Keeping the name of Daniel Faulkner alive
By Joseph A. Gambardello Inquirer Staff Writer
Maureen Faulkner says she has spent half her life seeking peace.
She is 50 now, and it was 25 years ago today that her husband of one year, Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, was shot dead on a Center City street, a crime for which Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted and sentenced to death.
Yesterday, Maureen Faulkner hosted a luncheon at the Union League to keep her husband's memory alive and to honor District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham for steadfastly challenging Abu-Jamal's many appeals.
Abu-Jamal's name was never mentioned at the luncheon.
Afterward, Faulkner, who never remarried and now lives in California, said she had spent "half my life" returning to Philadelphia for the appeals.
"I wish that some day, I can have closure and some peace in my life from this," she said, vowing at the same time to not stop "fighting to have justice for Danny."
Today, Abu-Jamal's supporters plan to protest at City Hall to mark the anniversary of the crime that put him in jail, while Faulkner's family will attend a memorial Mass at Annunciation Church in South Philadelphia.
During the luncheon, Faulkner choked up when she addressed Abraham and thanked her for "helping my friends and family through such a long 25 years."
Abraham, for her part, called Abu-Jamal's supporters "know-nothings" and said she wanted to "make sure history is not rewritten, that it is not revised" in the Faulkner case.
Her office is currently appealing a federal judge's 2001 decision overturning Abu-Jamal's death sentence in the case. It also is challenging an appeal by Abu-Jamal's lawyers seeking to have his first-degree murder conviction thrown out.
Faulkner was killed and Abu-Jamal, a former radio reporter then driving a cab, was wounded in an exchange of gunfire that erupted after Faulkner pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother's car in the 1200 block of Locust Street in the early morning of Dec. 9, 1981.
The luncheon, organized by Maureen Faulkner and radio talk-show host Michael Smerconish, attracted 500 people who paid $100 a head, with all proceeds, about $35,000, going to a scholarship in Daniel Faulkner's name to the children of murder victims.
Attendees included law enforcement officials from around the region, including Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, as well as politicians, labor union officials, and local celebrities.
A large photograph of Daniel Faulkner was projected on a screen throughout, and a bagpipe band played at the beginning and the end of the event.
Faulkner presented two scholarship checks for $5,000 each yesterday at the luncheon.
The first went to Angela Amarhanov, the daughter of Patricia McDermott, shot dead in the predawn hours in 2005 near Ninth and Chestnut Streets as she hurried to work at Pennsylvania Hospital.
Anthony Burno Jr., whose father, Anthony Sr., was fatally shot in August going to the aid of a rape victim in Fern Rock, received the second check.
To view more coverage of the 25th anniversary of the death of Officer Daniel Faulkner and the arrest of Mumia Abu-Jamal, go to Philly.com