Myth # 17
Myths About Mumia
Arnold Beverly, the “real killer”, has confessed.
Therefore, Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and should be released.
For nearly a decade Mumia Abu-Jamal and his attorneys have attempted to promote the notion that Jamal is innocent. To accomplish this, they have presented a story about a “phantom shooter” who shot Officer Daniel Faulkner and then ran from the scene before police arrived.
To support the “phantom shooter” story, they pointed to small segments of testimony given by eyewitnesses and alleged eyewitnesses to the murder (Debra Kordansky, Desie Hightower, Robert Chobert and Veronica Jones), who testified at trial or were presented to the Court at the 1995 and 1996 PCRA appeals hearings. But contrary to their out of court assertions, without exception, each of these witnesses either denied seeing any fleeing phantom, admitted that they had not seen the shooting at all, or were proven to be lying about having seen the shooting. Nevertheless, Jamal’s lawyers over the years have touted these snippets of out-of-context or discredited testimony in order to claim that witnesses saw the “real killer” running from the scene, going “east on the south side of Locust Street” (See Myth #2).
In addition to the 4 individuals who allegedly saw someone running from the scene, Jamal’s lawyers also presented 3 individuals, each of whom they claimed were eyewitnesses to the killing. Each man claimed to have been an eyewitness to the murder and had come forward after the 1982 trial and told them that they had seen someone other than Jamal shot Officer Daniel Faulkner. It was assumed that each of these individuals would tell a similar story to the other and that their story would contradict the testimony given in 1982 by the prosecution witnesses.
Instead, William Singletary, Robert Harkins and William “Bippy” Harmon each told mutually contradictory stories, and one, Robert Harkins, actually gave an account of the killing that was identical to the story told by each of the prosecution’s 4 eyewitnesses.
When the testimony of these individuals is reviewed in its entirety, it clearly shows that the stories championed by Jamal are mutually contradicting and utterly at odds with the testimony of the eyewitnesses, all of whom gave the same account identifying Jamal as the murderer, each independent of the other. In its 1998 ruling, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that Jamal’s lawyers had completely failed to support their myth that the “real killer” ran from the scene. And of the 3 “eyewitnesses”, Robert Harkins alone was found to have testified credibly in 1995.
In 1999, Jamal’s attorneys were contacted by Arnold Beverly, who told them that he had shot and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner. Beverly claimed that he and another man had been hired to kill Officer Daniel Faulkner by local members of the Mafia and corrupt Philadelphia Police Officers.
According to Beverly, Officer Faulkner — who had always been portrayed as a vicious racist cop by Jamal and his attorneys — was targeted because he refused to participate in, and was interfering with, the Mafia’s illicit drug dealing and prostitution business.
According to Jamal’s attorney, Dan Williams, a battle ensued within the ranks of Jamal’s legal team. Williams and Weinglass knew Beverly’s story was a fraud, and worse, an implausible fraud. If used, it would be detrimental to Jamal’s case — not only because it would portray Jamal as a desperate liar, but because it would destroy what little credibility his lawyers had left in the courts.
In his book, Executing Justice, William wrote: “I also wasn’t about to embarrass myself by running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death-penalty case in the world.”
Jamal’s other lawyers, such as Jonathan Piper and Rachel Wolkenstein, could have cared less whether or not the Beverly story was the truth. They saw Beverly as the key to Jamal’s release. In the end, Williams wrote, it was Jamal himself who broke the deadlock and decided not to use Arnold Beverly as a witness.
Williams gushed about Jamal’s high moral character for choosing not to use a ridiculous fabrication to gain his freedom:
Remarkably, as I reflect on this particular episode, it actually deepened my commitment to this case and heightened my already enormous respect for my client. It became apparent to me that Mumia is far too honorable to propagate a lie upon which to build a case for his freedom.
Dan Williams, Esq., “Executing Justice” (St. Martin’s Press, 2001), pp. 328-330.
Outraged and frustrated, Rachel Wolkenstein and Jonathan Piper subsequently left the “Scheme Team”.
It wasn’t long before Jamal decided that his honor was less important than his hide.
In April 2001, Jamal made an announcement that startled even his most blindly loyal supporters. In a press conference Jamal’s new lawyers acknowledged that Leonard Weinglass and Dan Williams had both been fired for alleged ethical breaches. The problem, he claimed, was Williams’ book — “an insiders account” of the Jamal case. Williams said that Jamal had prompted him to write the book, and that Jamal had reviewed it in rough draft and approved of its contents. Jamal and his new attorneys now denied this, and in retribution fired Williams. They also accused Leonard Weinglass, the man who had brought Jamal’s case to the forefront of the anti-death-penalty movement around the world, with greedily lining his pockets with exorbitant legal fees charged to Jamal for his services. Weinglass was further labeled a “sell out” and was charged with gross incompetence for, among other things, talking Jamal into not using Arnold Beverly’s confession.
In June 2001, Jamal’s new lawyers — Elliot Grossman, Marlene Camish and J. Michael Farrell — took over the litigation of his Federal Habeas Corpus case from Weinglass and Williams. In a series of desperate, last-gasp legal maneuvers designed to delay the appeals process, Jamal and his new lawyers brought forward — you guessed it — Arnold Beverly, the “hit man”. A brief was filed asking Federal Court Judge William Yohn to delay his decision until a request could be presented to the Pennsylvania court system to hear the testimony of Arnold Beverly. Jamal’s publicity train rolled into Philadelphia in September of 2001. At an open hearing, Jamal’s lawyers argued for a new PCRA proceeding (that is, in addition to the ones Jamal had been afforded in 1995, 1996, and 1997), before Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe. Present in the courtroom, and sitting directly across the aisle from Maureen Faulkner and her family members, were Jessie Jackson, Ossie Davis and comedian Dick Gregory. A small crowd (roughly 1,000) of Jamal’s diehard supporters were brought in by bus to gather outside the Courthouse. They used the hearing as an opportunity to spew anti-police, anti-government (anti-trade, anti-globalism, etc.) rhetoric over a loudspeaker system. A group of local construction workers displayed for Jamal’s out of town supporters the feelings of most Philadelphians when they hung a large banner from a nearby building: FRY MUMIA.
After the hearing, new Jamal lawyer Elliot Grossman addressed the gathering and told them that the hearing had been a legal travesty. He informed the crowd that Jamal’s “rights” had been violated once again because Judge Dembe had not permitted him to present the Beverly “evidence” and because Jamal was not permitted to be present in the courtroom. (This was a status hearing, not an evidentiary hearing. Defendants are never allowed to be present during such hearings in Pennsylvania. Grossman, a California lawyer, either did not know this, or purposely misled Jamal’s supporters to stoke their emotional fires). Speeches completed, the unruly mob proceeded to stage an illegal march though Philadelphia’s city center, snarling traffic for hours as they snaked through the downtown area.
Arnold Beverly’s sworn statement had, of course, already been released by Jamal’s lawyers at their earlier press conference. The statement appears to be a poorly constructed attempt to bring together various elements of testimony given by Jamal’s other witnesses. Beverly sketches an absurd “Twilight Zone” scenario in which he and another man murdered Officer Daniel Faulkner in full view of a bunch of Faulkner’s fellow Police Officers. Strangely, no one — not the prosecution eyewitnesses, nor even the many defense witnesses paraded by Jamal since 1995 — seems to have seen Beverly, or to have seen what Beverly claims happened.
Federal District Court Judge William Yohn and Pennsylvania State Court Judge Pamela Dembe have both rejected Jamal’s request to enter Beverly’s confession as evidence in the case. Each noted that Jamal was fully aware of Beverly’s statement in 1999, and that he had no excuse (and no reason, other than that its false) for not bringing it to the attention of the Court within the legal one-year time limit. They further noted the fact that misguided or disturbed individuals frequently confess to being the “real killer” in high-profile cases years after the fact, and the skeptical view that Courts take of such last-minute confessions.
Yet, armed with Beverly’s confession, Jamal’s supporters continue to argue that Jamal is innocent, and point to the Court’s unwillingness to allow Arnold Beverly to testify as further evidence of an unfair legal system that is hell bent on executing an innocent man.
Over the past 10 years Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lawyers have presented a variety of alleged eyewitnesses. They have told mutually contradictory stories about what “really happened” the morning Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner. The sham that is the Mumia Abu-Jamal defense is compounded when one reviews and understands the testimony of each of the witnesses previously presented by the defense, and compares it to Arnold Beverly’s statement. Arnold Beverly’s story completely contradicts the testimony of every other witness — including Jamal’s own witnesses.
Beverly contends that he shot Faulkner in the head after Faulkner had already been shot in the back by another person, also supposedly hired to “hit” Faulkner, after which he fled. But not one of the actual eyewitnesses to the shooting (Robert Chobert, Michael Scanlan, Cynthia White, Albert Magilton, Robert Harkins) saw two shooters, or three shooters. They all saw one shooter, who remained on the scene.
Beverly says that he then ran away from the scene going “west on Locust,” not “east on the south side of Locust” as Jamal and his lawyers have always contended the “phantom killer” had done. He also says that he ducked down the steps leading to an underground rail line, not up an alley as Jamal and his lawyers have always stated the “real killer” did. No one, not even Jamal’s witnesses, claimed to have seen anyone go down these steps.
Arnold Beverly states that he wore a green “army coat.” But witnesses said that the shooter wore a “blue and red stripped jacket.” That was what Jamal wore.
Further, he alleges that several police officers were present during the shooting and that one of them, not Faulkner, shot Jamal. But ballistic tests prove that the bullet removed from Jamal’s body matches Faulkner’s gun, to the exclusion of all other guns in the world.
Beverly states that he used either a .22 or a .38 caliber “Police Special” to kill Faulkner. (For more on the .44 caliber Myth go to The Myths About Mumia, Myth #1). The .38 caliber bullet that killed Officer Faulkner was not fired from a “Police Special” revolver.
So who are we to believe? Well, lets see. Though he was invisible to every witness for the prosecution and the defense, Arnold Beverly says he is the “real killer” and that he ran west on Locust and down a subway entrance. In direct contradiction to every other eyewitness William Singletary says the “real killer” ran east on Locust Street. “Bippy” Harmon says the “real killer” drove away in a car. While Robert Harkins says the “real killer” fell to the “pavement” after firing the fatal shot: A scenario that is supported by the initial statements and trial testimony of 4 other eyewitnesses who have each repeatedly been deemed “credible” by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Jamal’s new lawyers are attempting to re-package and sell Mumia Abu-Jamal to a new set of buyers. But when the facts are reviewed, it is abundantly clear that Arnold Beverly is nothing more than the newest in a long line of phony “last minute” witnesses that have been trotted out by Jamal each year in order to extend and abuse the appeals process and prolong his life.
FACTS SUPPORTING OUR REBUTTAL
To fully grasp the sham that Jamal is trying to perpetrate by using Arnold Beverly as a witness, you must understand the details of his past defense.
A CHRONOLOGY OF THE JAMAL DEFENSE
At the 1982 trial, Jamal’s attorney, Anthony Jackson, did not present a single witness that was able to refute the testimony of the prosecution’s four legitimate eyewitnesses. Instead, Jackson mounted a passive defense by attempting to discredit the prosecution’s witnesses by focusing on minor discrepancies in their testimony as it compared to the initial statements they had given to police.
In 1990, a new legal team was assembled to represent Mumia Abu-Jamal in his bid for freedom. Dubbed “The Scheme Team” by local Philadelphia press, it was comprised of six attorneys: Leftist attorney Leonard Weinglass who functioned as Jamal’s lead counsel; Dan Williams who was the lead strategist; attorney Jonathan Piper; American Socialist Workers Party attorney Rachel Wolkenstein; Steven Hawkins, of the National Conference of Black Lawyers; and local counsel David Rudovsky.
Though his client had been found at the scene just 40 seconds after the shooting with an emptied gun at his side, for the next ten years Weinglass, who functioned as Jamal’s chief propagandist and spokesperson, traveled the world telling anyone who would listen that Jamal was innocent. To validate Jamal’s alleged innocence Weinglass told a story that was completely contradicted by the evidence (which established that Jamal ran to the scene, shot Faulkner, was shot himself, and slumped to the pavement as he attempted to flee). Weinglass’ fictional story has become a legend among Jamal’s zealous followers. Until recently, the pro-Jamal storyline went like this.
Officer Faulkner stopped a VW that was driven by Jamal’s younger brother, William Cook. He ordered Cook out of the car. Cook complied. For some unexplained reason, Faulkner began “brutally beating” Cook with a flashlight. Jamal, in his “gypsy” taxicab in a parking lot directly across the street, seeing his brother attacked, exited his car and ran to the scene. As he crossed the street, Faulkner turned away from Cook, pulled his gun and fired a shot into Jamal’s chest. According to Weinglass, at that moment, someone exited Cook’s VW from the passenger side. The “phantom” shoots Officer Faulkner and runs from the scene, according to Weinglass, going “east on the south side of Locust Street to a place where an alleyway intersects Locust.”
To prove this scenario and to support his other claims of innocence, Jamal and his attorneys produced three alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting at the 1995 PCRA hearing — William Singletary, William “Bippy” Harmon and Robert Harkins. They told the press and Jamal’s supporters that these “new” eyewitnesses would blow the prosecution’s case wide open and prove Jamal’s innocence.
1) WILLIAM SINGLETARY
Jamal’s first alleged exculpatory “eyewitness” was William Singletary. Mr. Singletary had given a statement to police within a few hours of the killing. In it, he said he did not see the shooting, but that afterward he saw two men (i.e., Jamal and his brother) near the fallen officer.
Having repeatedly met with Jamal’s attorneys, by 1995, Singletary told a very different tale that directly contradicted his 1981 statement.
Well, I brought my car, parked my car at the southwest corner of 13th and Locust. I got out to go over to the club Whispers. The doors were locked. I came back across the street. There was a Volkswagen that was going south on 13th Street. He made a left turn onto Locust. Pulled over to the curb immediately. There was a police car that pulled behind the Volkswagen. The driver of the Volkswagen got out. The police officer got out and immediately at that point the police officer was frisking the driver of the Volkswagen.
There was an occupant in the Volkswagen on the passenger side started yelling and screaming, saying a lot of things. He had a long Army, umm, overcoat on. He came from the car, stuck his hand in his right pocket, and pulled a gun.
I immediately moved over to the highspeed line, the barrier there, and I ducked. I heard a pop. I ducked, I looked. And the, uhh, when I looked over I saw the guy again point the gun in the direction of the police officer, firing into his face.
And I saw the second shot the police officer fell backwards. This tall guy with dreadlocks looked at his right, looked to his left, placed the gun in the Volkswagen, started running. The guy who was driving the Volkswagen then started yelling a name or something and started chasing this guy.
I peered over to see, I peeped over to see if there was anything I could do for the officer. And I started backing up. There was a, the guy there said he was a cab driver [Chobert] and asked me what was that sound he heard. And I said the police officer was just shot, we need to get him help right away. And as I was talking to him he went towards the police car to make a call. Just to tell them the police officer was down and we would need help right away.
And I went back, started back towards to see the officer, then another gentleman came across the street. He wasn’t as tall as the first guy. He had dreadlocks and he had said this is my brother’s car, where is my brother? I said I don’t know. I said there was two guys that took off running. I said the tall guy shot the police officer, took off running.
And he said, my God, we don’t need this, and he started to went over to the cop, is there anything I could do, anything I could do to help you? And he was laying forward, bending forward. And the police officer’s gun, which was in his lap, discharged, striking him in the chest or someplace. And he screamed I’m shot, I’m shot. He staggered against the back of the Volkswagen.
And then there was sirens and everything was becoming chaotic then. I was just like, you know. That’s what I wrote down in the report.”
N.T. 8/11/95, 234-237.
According to Singletary, as Jamal approached “to offer assistance,” Officer Faulkner — who had already been shot in the head and was lying on the sidewalk against a wall — suddenly raised his hand and shot Jamal in the chest. Singletary claimed that he personally approached Officer Faulkner at this point and heard him speak. He claims he heard Officer Faulkner say,
“Get Maureen, and get the children.”
N.T. 8/11/95, 270
Singletary was the featured “eyewitness” in the 1996 HBO-TV docudrama, “A Case for Reasonable Doubt.”
And yet … months before the HBO piece went to production, Leonard Weinglass, Jamal’s own attorney, had admitted in open court that William Singletary was not credible.
[T]his is a witness who is a person whose recollection of what happened on the night in question we believe to be not entirely accurate. We believe his recollection today is not entirely accurate. We believe his recollection which was given in a sworn statement in 1990 was not entirely accurate…”
N.T. 8/11/95, 9-10.
Singletary went on to tell the Court that, immediately after the final shot was fired “Captains and Lieutenants” emerged from the shadows. When asked what those individuals did when the first patrol car responding to Faulkner’s call for backup arrived, Singletary said they “disappeared”.
Singletary claimed that he had seen a police helicopter hovering overhead, shining its light on the scene. The problem was, there was no helicopter. The police did not even own one then. Among dozens of individuals on the scene during the shooting, or who ran there immediately thereafter, among all those interviewed, only Singletary saw a helicopter shining its light on events below. And he didn’t remember seeing it until thirteen years after the murder.
Well, who knows, maybe there was a chopper that only Singletary could see. But there were other problems with Singletary’s testimony that were less open to interpretation. The events testified to by Singletary defied the physical facts.
Both the prosecution and defense medical experts agreed that Officer Faulkner died instantly from his head wound. Being dead, Faulkner could not subsequently have spoken to anyone, nor could he have raised his arm, pulled the trigger on his gun, and shot Jamal in the chest as Jamal approached to offer assistance, as Singletary claimed.
Singletary said that William Cook’s passenger threw his gun next to the Volkswagen driven by Cook. But the only guns on the ground were Faulkner’s gun and the five-shot .38 registered to Jamal. (Jamal was apprehended wearing an empty shoulder holster.)
Singletary’s account said that Officer Faulkner was shot only from the front. But Faulkner had also been shot in the back. There was an entrance wound in his upper back that exited near his neck.
Singletary said that Faulkner was shot from a distance of five to ten feet. Trace metal tests proved that he was shot from a distance of less than two feet.
Singletary claimed that Jamal was wearing an Arab-style “safari suit.” In fact, Jamal wore a pair of normal pants, a shirt and a red and blue striped jacket.
Singletary said a lot of things that just could not be true — which never stopped Jamal from relying on him. Thus, according to Jamal, Singletary was telling the truth when he claimed that the “true” shooter got out of Cook’s car. But Arnold Beverly, the new “true shooter” — who Jamal also says is telling the truth — claims he was standing in the street. Singletary said the “true shooter” ran down the street. Beverly, the new “true shooter,” says he ran down the speedline steps.
2) WILLIAM “BIPPY” HARMON
The second alleged “eyewitness” presented at the 1995 PCRA hearing by Jamal’s “Scheme Team” was William “Bippy” Harmon. Mr. Harmon was a 52 year-old career criminal and pimp who, nearly 15 years after the killing, approached Jamal’s attorneys claiming that he had witnessed the entire Faulkner shooting in 1982. At the time of the hearing Harmon was serving a sentence for drug dealing in a Pennsylvania state prison. He took the stand and proceeded to tell a tale that was patently impossible. His story also directly contradicted the story, told just days before, by Jamal’s other witness, William Singletary. (If you fail to see the logic in presenting two witnesses to tell mutually contradictory stories, you are not alone.)
According to Harmon, on the morning of December 9, 1981, he and Jamal — whom he admittedly knew well — had met outside a bar across the street from the murder scene. Harmon said that he and Jamal were walking across 13th Street away from the bar when Jamal saw a traffic stop on the corner of 13th and Locust. Then Jamal suddenly began to walk through the parking lot on the corner of 13th and Locust towards the police officer and the man he had stopped. While Jamal was still in the parking lot, a shot was fired. According to Harmon, after this shot was fired he “seen the officer fall” (N.T. 8/10/95, 63). Then, Harmon said, Jamal continued walking across Locust Street to the spot where Office Faulkner had fallen. Harmon claimed he heard a second shot fired and saw Jamal fall to the ground. (N.T. 8/190/95, 63). He explained that Faulkner was on the ground “laying against a wall” when he shot Jamal. Then, paralleling the “phantom shooter” scenario, which by then had been well-publicized by Weinglass, Harmon said he had seen someone running east on the south side of Locust Street.
Well, so far so good. But it was at this point that “Bippy” got carried away, and his story started to unravel. It seems that he saw two phantom shooters, one coming right after the other, as if on a conveyor belt:
After I heard the second shot and I seen Mumia fall, a car came up beside him. And a guy got out of the car and pointed a gun at the cop and shot again, got in the car, backed the car up to 13th Street, and went down 13th Street the wrong way. They went, it went south on 13th.
(N.T. 8/10/95, 68).
Harmon added that before shooting Jamal, Officer Faulkner had said, “You son of a bitch you.” Harmon then claimed that the long-haired man who supposedly drove up and shot the officer also said these exact same words, “You son of a bitch you” (N.T. 8/10/95, 99, 107).
Aside from its sheer silliness, there were a few things wrong with Harmon’s story.
Harmon said that Jamal was in the middle of Locust Street, “10 feet” away from Faulkner when the second shot was fired. (N.T. 8/10/82, 65). But the physical evidence proved that Jamal was shot from a distance no greater than 2 feet. Jamal’s own pathologist, while testifying in 1995, acknowledged that the downward angle of Jamal’s wound made it impossible for him to have been shot, while he was standing, by a person sitting on the ground, as Harmon claimed.
Contradicting William Singletary, Harmon said that the “real killer” drove up in a car, got out, shot Faulkner in the head, then sped away going “south on Locust” (although Locust runs east and west). But none of the eyewitnesses, including the other witnesses presented by Jamal, claimed to see a car drive up to the scene, disgorge a gunman, and then drive away.
Harmon said that he knew William Cook, and that Cook was not there. But Cook was there. Like Jamal, he had remained at the scene (N.T. 8/10/95, 67).
Harmon said the “real killer” had a “Johnny Mathis” hair style. Like Singletary and his helicopter, Harmon was the only one to see a killer with “Johnny Mathis” hair. Several actual eyewitnesses said the killer had dreadlocks, like Jamal had.
Arnold Beverly and his mysterious partner, we are now told, was waiting on the street to ambush Officer Faulkner. But Harmon said that the real killer drove up in a car. Beverly says he ran down the speedline steps and escaped underground. Harmon said the real killer drove away in a car.
3) ROBERT HARKINS
This brings us to the final eyewitness presented by Jamal and his attorneys — a surprise defense witness who ended up being a witness for the prosecution.
Robert Harkins was a cab driver who was heading east on Locust Street when he saw Jamal run across the street in front of him. Harkins stopped his cab just 25 feet away from the scene. He gave a statement to the police an hour after the shooting, at 5:20 AM:
“I looked over and observed a police officer grab a guy, the guy spun around and the officer went to the ground. He had his hands on the ground and then rolled over at this time and the male who was standing over the officer pointed a gun at the officer and fired one shot and then he fired a second shot. At this time the officer moved a little and then went flat to the ground. I heard a total of three shots and saw what appeared to be three flashes from the gun of the man standing over the officer.”
Harkins essentially duplicated what the other eyewitnesses had described, and was not called as a witness at the 1982 trial. In 1994, however, Harkins agreed to give a statement to Jamal’s investigators, and was called by Jamal’s lawyers to testify at the 1995 PCRA hearing.
According to Jamal’s lawyers, Mr. Harkins would testify about some type of police malfeasance regarding a photo line-up. But when Harkins took the stand, Jamal’s lawyers began to question him about the shooting. The prosecution objected to this, because witnesses are not supposed to testify to topics not outlined in advance. Judge Albert Sabo overruled the prosecution’s objection.
But Harkins proved to be decidedly unhelpful to Jamal. First, he scolded Jamal’s lawyers for lying about what he had told them. “[E]very time I say something you come back with something different than what I say to you, and I do not like that.” Then, while being questioned by Jamal’s attorney, Dan Williams, Mr. Harkins did not say that the shooter ran off. Instead, he testified that, immediately after the shooting, he saw the gunman sit on the curb (N.T. 8/2/95, 205-228).
Harkins: “The cop and the – they was like wrestling a little bit and the cop fell down.”
Williams: “Then what happened.”
Harkins: “Well, he leaned over and two, two to three flashes from the gun. But then he walked, and sat down on the curb.”
Williams: “The guy who did the shooting walked and sat down on the curb?”
Harkins: “On the pavement.”
N.T. 8/2/95, 208-209
Instead of supporting the myth that the “real killer” had run from the scene, Harkins’s testimony further corroborated Jamal’s guilt. At trial, Officer Shoemaker, the first officer on the scene, testified that he arrived moments after the shooting and found Jamal sitting on the curb, his gun inches from his hand (N.T. 6/19/82, 115). Prosecution witness Robert Chobert testified that Jamal, after shooting the victim in the face, walked 30-35 steps to the curb and fell (N.T. 6/19/82, 211-212). Prosecution witness Cynthia White said the same thing and Albert Magilton testified that, after the shooting, he saw the officer lying on the ground and someone else on the curb, whom he later identified as Jamal (N.T. 6/25/82, 6.75-8.79, 8.98, 8.138). Now Harkins, who Leonard Weinglass had said “was maybe the closest person to the shooting,” confirmed that Jamal was the shooter (N.T. 8/2/95, 220).
Today, when confronted with Robert Harkin’s devastating testimony, Jamal’s supporters and his lawyers simply deny its existence.
4) ARNOLD BEVERLY
And finally we come to Arnold Beverly.
The “phantom killer” myth had been smashed by Jamal’s own 1995 witnesses. It lay in pieces for nearly 4 years until, in 1999, Arnold Beverly, the supposed Mafia hitman, approached Jamal’s “Scheme Team” and told them he was the “real” killer.
The most revealing perspective on this “new evidence” comes from Jamal’s own lawyer. Daniel R. Williams, Esq., wrote:
In the spring of 1999, over seventeen years after the killing and nearly four years after the lengthy hearings before [Judge] Sabo, [Jamal attorneys] Rachel [Wolkenstein] and Jon [Piper] announced that they had discovered yet another “explosive new witness.” According to them, this new witness would testify that he and another unidentified individual received money from the mob to kill Officer Faulkner. The killing, however, was not to be a mob hit; rather, the mob was merely some sort of conduit for a killing which was sought out by high-level officials within the Philadelphia police department. Although the details were never fleshed out completely, this new account portrayed Officer Faulkner as an inside informant for federal authorities investigating corruption within the department. Exposed as such, Faulkner became the target of corrupt police officials who feared that he would be their ultimate undoing. According to this new witness, Faulkner was killed at the behest of corrupt Philadelphia officers to silence him.
When I heard the story at a defense team meeting at Len’s loft, I bit my lip to avoid another unpleasant argument with Rachel. Actually, I was enraged, convinced that bona fide lunacy had set in. When the meeting ended, I stayed behind to speak further with Len, fearful that we were close to ruining years of work and threatening to extinguish Mumia’s hopes for justice.
“Are you seriously considering this?” I asked. Len was visibly distressed. He had been aware for a few months that Rachel was working on bringing this witness around to helping the defense. He agreed that the story was insane, but Rachel had already lobbied Mumia, as she had when Singletary was the issue. Concerned that Mumia would insist upon our presenting this evidence, Len sought out ways to push this witness onto the trash heap without further rupturing the defense team. We even had the witness undergo several lie detector tests (with mixed results, which further complicated the situation). Most frightening, the story somehow leaked out and was mentioned in a major attack piece on the pro-Mumia movement published in Vanity Fair in August 1999.
But what if Mumia wanted the witness? On the one hand I felt that he was absolutely entitled to present him, because it was his life on the line. On the other hand, a lawyer must protect his client against his own tendency to destroy himself, especially in a capital case where desperation might cause a client to opt for an irrational course of action. But even if Mumia’s wishes prevailed, that didn’t mean he was entitled to have a particular lawyer do it for him. I made it clear to Len that I would not participate in what I regarded as an assisted suicide. I have to admit, I also wasn’t about to embarrass myself by running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death penalty case in the world. I don’t know Len’s analysis of the situation, but he ended up with the same conclusion: if Mumia wanted the witness, he’d have to get another lawyer to present him.
Rachel and Jon took the same position, but on the flip side: If we convinced Mumia not to use this witness, then they would leave the defense team. Jon presented his position exactly as I presented mine: he too would not stand by and watch a client make a decision that might result in his death. He accused Len, Steve, and me of becoming the first death penalty lawyers in history who turned their back on an exculpatory witness. It was a shallow analysis inasmuch as it totally ignored the implausibility, if not the absurdity, of the story that we were rejecting.
Rachel and Jon are no longer on the case. They ceased their involvement in August of 1999, after Mumia decided that he would not demand that we use this witness. In retrospect, I feel somewhat ashamed for even thinking that Mumia would opt to pin his hopes for a new trial on such an absurd account. An innocent man on death row might grab at anything to get justice; but I should have had faith that Mumia would never get that desperate.
Remarkably, as I reflect on this particular episode, it actually deepened my commitment to this case and heightened my already enormous respect for my client. It became apparent to me that Mumia is far too honorable to propagate a lie upon which to build a case for his freedom.
Dan Williams, Esq., “Executing Justice” (St. Martin’s Press, 2001), pp. 328-330.
Jamal may have been “too honorable” to rely on a lie in 1999, but it didn’t last. By 2001 he decided that it would be better to try to lie his way out of his predicament.
Jamal fired Williams and his other lawyers, and hired a brand new group — call them “Scheme Team Two.” In May 2001, Jamal’s new lawyers loudly brought forth Arnold Beverly — Jamal’s fourth and newest alleged eyewitness. They held a press conference in which they presented Beverly’s version of events. In direct contradiction to the stories told by the previous three alleged eyewitnesses presented by Jamal at the 1995 PCRA hearing (Harmon, Singletary and Harkins), Arnold Beverly told a story right out of a Twilight Zone episode. The following are the substantive portions of Arnold Beverly’s statement regarding his absurd version of the killing.
According to Arnold Beverly’s statement, he and another man were hired “by the mob and corrupt police officers” to kill Officer Daniel Faulkner “because he was interfering with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling and drugs without prosecution in the center city area.” Beverly claims that Faulkner was first shot in the back, then in the face “before Jamal came on the scene”. He further alleges that Mumia Abu-Jamal had nothing to do with Faulkner’s murder.
Beverly states that he and his unnamed partner never actually mounted any surveillance of Faulkner prior to the “hit”. Instead, Beverly explains, his employers showed him a picture of Faulkner and told him that Faulkner would be looking into a police matter at “Johnny D’s” bar in the area of 13th and Locust on the morning of December 9, 1981. It was their plan to use this as an opportunity to kill Faulkner. According to Beverly, in addition to the .22 caliber handgun he carried, his mystery partner gave him a “.38 caliber policeman’s Special” handgun to do the job.
On the morning of December 9th Beverly was wearing a “green army jacket”. He alleges he was not alone while “waiting at the entrance to a Speedline [subway]” for Faulkner to arrive; with him were two “undercover police officers” standing nearby and an additional “uniformed officer” who was parked across the street in a patrol car. Beverly claims that each of these officers remained at the scene as the Faulkner shooting took place. Beverly claims not to have been alarmed by the presence of these officers because he “knew” this was a “hit” that was sanctioned by the police themselves and that they were there to “help” with the killing.
According to Beverly, Faulkner did not approach “Johnny D’s” as expected. Instead, Faulkner exited his patrol car and approached William Cook’s car. Someone then fired a shot into Faulkner’s back. Faulkner fell to one knee on the sidewalk next to Cook’s car. Beverly states that someone fired a second shot and that this shot grazed his left shoulder. He claims to have then run across the street towards the fallen officer and fired a shot into Faulkner’s face “at close range” as he lay on the pavement.
Beverly remained at the scene for a period long enough to see the following:
“Cop cars came from all directions. Foot patrol also arrived. I saw a white shirt getting out of a car in the middle of the 13th and Locust intersection just as I was going down to the speedline steps.”
According to Beverly, he also saw Jamal arrive on the scene after he had already shot Faulkner. He contends that Jamal was an innocent by-stander who was shot, not by Faulkner, but by one of the officers who arrived at the scene after the fatal shot had already been fired.
SO, WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEVERLY’S STORY?
Arnold Beverly is clearly a liar put forth by Jamal to prolong the appeals process. Virtually every aspect of Beverly’s story flies in the face of all the physical evidence. Further, it directly contradicts the testimony of the prosecution’s eyewitnesses, each of whom has repeatedly been deemed to have testified “credibly” by the Supreme Court. Most importantly though, is the fact that Beverly’s story directly contradicts the testimony given by Jamal’s own witnesses! Apparently Jamal and his new band of lawyers seemed to believe that nobody would remember the three mutually contradictory stories previously offered by their other 3 alleged “eyewitnesses”.
So lets take a moment to compare the story offered by Arnold Beverly as it relates to the testimony given to the Court by Jamal’s witnesses over the past ten years. According to Beverly, he was standing at the corner of 13th and Locust with two “detectives” at the moment the first shot was fired. This seems to be a lame attempt by Jamal to tie Beverly to William Singletary, who stated that after the shooting “Captains and Lieutenants appeared” from the darkness and that they “disappeared” once the first car arrived at the scene. But Singletary is the only person — including not just the prosecution eyewitnesses, but also every witness called by Jamal — to have seen police officers standing around the scene during the murder.
Further, no one — not even Jamal’s own witnesses — seems to have been able to see Beverly. Was he able to turn himself invisible? Were the uniformed police officers that Beverly claims were loitering at the scene able to turn themselves invisible too?
They all must have been able to turn themselves invisible — since not even Jamal or his brother has claimed to have seen them.
Beverly’s claim that he used either a .22 or a “.38 police special” to shoot Faulkner is the most humorous part of his unbelievable story. This is because, to this day, Jamal’s unthinking supporters insist that the fatal bullet was a .44 caliber. (For more information on the .44 caliber lie see Myth #1). In reality, Officer Faulkner was killed with a .38 caliber bullet. The bullet was deformed, but ballistics tests showed that it was marked with the same pattern of lands and grooves as the barrel of the Charter Arms pistol — it was not a “police special” — registered to Jamal. The same gun that contained five spent shells. And the same gun that Jamal tried to pick up and use against Officer Shoemaker when he arrived on the scene.
Beverly claims that he wore an “army jacket” that morning. But eyewitnesses to the shooting testified that the killer wore “distinctive” red and blue stripes. Just as Jamal had that morning.
Beverly claims that Jamal was shot by someone other than Officer Faulkner. But ballistics tests — tests that have never even been challenged by Jamal — proved that the bullet that hit him came from Officer Faulkner’s gun, to the exclusion of every other firearm in the world.
Beverly claims that he ran west on Locust and down a speedline entrance. This story directly contradicts every other witness, for both the defense and the prosecution. The eyewitnesses said that the shooter remained on the scene. The story told by Jamal’s lawyers since 1995 was that the “real” killer “ran east on the south side of Locust Street” and went into an alley.
Out of the literally dozens of witnesses to testify over the course of twenty years, not a single one has claimed to see Beverly, or any of the strange things Beverly describes. A review of the testimony of these witnesses confirms that Arnold Beverly is a liar and exposes the pathetic scam that Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lawyers are selling regarding his alleged “innocence”.
If one reviews the trial record posted at www.justice4danielfaulkner.com they will find the following:
Alleged “eyewitness” William Singletary said the “real killer” ran east up Locust Street.
Alleged “eyewitness” William “Bippy” Harmon said the real killer drove away in a car.
Robert Chobert, an actual eyewitness to the killing, said the “real killer” ran several steps and fell to the ground in the exact spot that police apprehended Jamal.
Robert Harkins, also an actual eyewitness to the killing and a witness presented by Jamal, also said that the “real killer” shot Officer Faulkner and then “fell on the pavement” in the exact spot Jamal was apprehended with his emptied gun at his side, just seconds later.
Add to this list prosecution witnesses, Cynthia White and Albert Magilton — each of whom was unquestionably an eyewitness to Faulkner’s murder — who, like Chobert and Harkins, said that the “real killer” fell to the ground in the spot where Jamal was apprehended.
Jamal’s supporters don’t like facts. But when the facts are reviewed it becomes abundantly clear that Arnold Beverly is just another in a long line of scams, yet another transparent attempt by Jamal and his lawyers to create the illusion that he is the innocent victim of a racist police frame up. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Just as Arnold Beverly is a liar, Mumia Abu-Jamal is a guilty and remorseless killer.
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