Shouting matches broke out in the courtroom between Mumia Abu-Jamal's supporters and opponents as testimony ended in the condemned journalist's hearing for a new murder trial.
Abu-Jamal, 41, smiled to supporters who jumped to their feet, fists raised, and shouted "Free Mumia!" as he was led away in handcuffs at the end of Tuesday's session.Across the aisle, supporters of the dead officer's family raised their fists, thumbs down. "Burn, baby, burn!" they shouted. "Adieu, Abu!"
The emotion capped the three-week hearing in which defense lawyers tried to prove Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial in the slaying of officer Daniel Faulkner was flawed and that Abu-Jamal shouldn't face the death penalty.
Pimps, police officers, cab drivers and lawyers took the stand to explain why he should or should not be cleared of the murder conviction.
Abu-Jamal supporters, including a dozen or more celebrities, claim his case was tainted by bias. Prosecutors said he got a fair trial and the defense broke no new ground in their retrial fight.
The two sides remained as far apart Tuesday as when the hearing started, though both agreed the former radio news reporter and teenage Black Panther was unlikely to win a new trial - yet.
Abu-Jamal had been scheduled for execution Thursday, but last week Common Pleas Senior Judge Albert F. Sabo, who presided over the 1982 trial, delayed the execution indefinitely.
Defense attorney Leonard I. Weinglass said Sabo has "amply shown" he is leaning against the retrial petition. He said the defense would "proceed to other courts where hopefully we'll get a better hearing," starting with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court if the petition is rejected.