Book Review - "The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal"
"The Framing Of Mumia-Jamal" by J. Patrick Connor
Lawrence Hill Books 256 pages
Review by John Hayden
Americans in general, and Philadelphians in particular are fortunate indeed.
Author J.Patrick O'Connor has just published a book that solves the mystery that's been haunting us for the past 27 years:
Who killed Officer Danny Faulkner at 3:51AM, December 9, 1981?
O'Connor, the editor and publisher of Crime Magazine, after conducting a two decade investigation only rivaled in its brilliance by Chief Inspector Clouseau, has discovered that it wasn't the radio journalist/cab driver arrested at the crime scene sitting near his five shot 38 - with five spent cartridges in the cylinder.The "real killer" was Kenneth Freeman, a passenger in the VW driven by Mumia Abu Jamal's brother.
Wow! The editorial board of the anti-death penalty Philadelphia Inquirer now has the moral obligation to immediately urge DA Abraham to call off her homicidal hound dogs, stop persecuting Abu Jamal, and either unilateraly vacate the 1982 racially mixed jury's guilty verdict, or at least buy the book, ship a copy to the Manhattan based "Innocence Project," and urge them to spring the framed-up and railroaded political prisoner.
"The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" is a good read. It's only 259 pages. You can breeze through it in less time than it takes to recite "Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners! "a 1,000 times.
Plus, if you're fortunate enough to know nothing about the overwhelming evidence of the remorseless cop killer's guilt, or, if your UFO just arrived here from another galaxy, you might become convinced that the gun owning ex Panther really was framed by "the Philadelphia Police Dept. and District Attorney's Office" and that they railroaded Abu Jamal "by knowingly using perjured, coerced, and bribed testimony at his trial." (p.xiii).
Unfortunately the book starts off with a minor factual error that doesn't inspire confidence.
It's 1st sentence gives "July 2, 1982" as the date the jury voted for the death penalty. (p.x). That was the date of the guilty verdict. The sentencing trial took place July 3, 1982. The book, published on May 1, 2008, ends with this 100% confident prediction about the Abu Jamal's appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals:
"One way or another, a new trial is an almost certain outcome for Abu Jamal." (p.255)
Of course, that federal appeals court had already denied the convicted cop killer's new trial request several weeks before that Quixotic sentiment was published.
The quaint, major, premise of this latest pro-Mumia screed is that the passenger in the VW owned by Abu Jamal's brother, and Robert Harkins, "an eyewitness the prosecution did not call to testify are the keys to everything in this case." (p. 11).
The Framing quotes a 12/9/81 and a 12/18/81 statement from the cabbie-eyewitness (pp.13-14). It cleverly infers from some of its language that Robert Harkin's "description of the shooter...points directly to the burly Freeman" and "it also excludes both Abu Jamal and his brother, Billy Cook, from being the shooter." (p.14)
Of course, Inspector Clouseau's rival in solving mystery-murders never spoke to Robert Harkins. Author O'Connor never heard Harkin's August 2, 1995 testimony as Abu Jamal's own witness at the disastrous new trial hearing. He certainly never read - or just plain forgot - the transcript. The latter unambiguously indicates to any sane person that the person Harkins saw shoot the cop couldn't possibly be the passenger in William Cook's car.
Harkins responded to a question from the convicted cop killer's own lawyer, Daniel Williams, as to what happened after he saw the cop on the ground:
"A. Well, he (the shooter) leaned over and two, two to three flashes from his gun. But then he (the shooter) sat down on the curb.
Q.The guy that done the shooting walked and sat down on the curb!?!
A. On the pavement. (Transcript-8/2/95-p.210)"
Abu Jamal's flabbergasted lawyer immediately moved to strike the testimony he didn't want the hearing court - or the public - to consider. The Judge refused. This 1995 testimony corroborated the 1982 trial testimony of two eyewitnesses (pedestrian Cynthia White and cabbie Robert Chobert). White testified (without contradiction from Abu Jamal or his brother) that after she'd seen Mumia Abu Jamal shoot the cop in the back and the victim fell:
"Then he (the shooter) came on top of the officer and shot some more times. After that he (the shooter) went over and sloughed and he sat on the curb."(Transcript - 6/21/82, p.95)
Chobert testified -without contradiction - that after the shooter fired downward at the prone cop:
"Then I saw him walk about 10 feet he just fell by the curb."(Transcript 6/19/82, p.3.212)
That curb is the place where Officers Shoemaker and Forbes arrived about 15 seconds later and observed Abu Jamal sitting next to his 38 with five spent cartridges in its chamber.
Author O'Connor obviously picked the wrong person to establish The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal.
Nevertheless for 259 pages he valiantly tries to force the round peg of Mumia's innocence into the square hole of Harkins description of the murder to prove that Abu Jamal was "framed."
With breathtaking verbal legerdemain he claims that "the first shot was fired by Faulkner himself at the oncoming Abu-Jamal"; that "Abu Jamal went down" and was "replaced by Freeman who...wrestled Faulkner to the ground and then shot the officer in the back and then in the face, just as witness Harkins had told the police in his two statements." (p.115)
The highly imaginative fiction book complains that the cops never tested the gun owning radio journalist's hands to prove that he'd just fired his weapon. But it dishonestly fails to give the reader any explanation whatsoever for the presence of five spent cartridges in Abu Jamal's handgun.
William Cook & Kenneth Freeman
The reality-challenged author never spoke to Abu Jamal's brother. He never had the oportunity to assess, much less test, his credibility. But he did take the time to read William Cook's 45 paragraph "Mumia's innocent!" affidavit of 4/29/01. From that strenuous investigative effort he concluded that the passenger in Cook's VW had shot Officer faulkner outside his VW while he was inside looking for his driver's license.
It never occuured to the investigative journalist to inquire why, if that's true, Abu Jamal's brother didn't testify to that scenario at the June-July 1982 murder trial, or to the Judge at the July-August 1995 new trial hearing based on "newly discovered evidence of innocence."
"The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" fails to tell the public why Cook waited 19 years to reveal that a dead man named Kenneth Freeman is "real killer."
J. Patrick O'Connor's new look at at an absurdly old murder case is highly recommended. It makes a valuable contribution to the ever expanding "Mumia's Innocent!" mythology. "The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" may be found in the Fiction Section of Barnes & Noble right next to Grimms Fairy Tales and a sensational, 100% true, unauthorized biography on Pope Benedict entitled Confessions of a Life-Long Athiest.
John Hayden is the author of "Mumia Abu Jamal-The Patron Saint of American Cop Killers" and is a contributor to the Anti-MOVE/Mumia Blog