Veronica and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, as told to her sister, Valerie
Sometimes raw, always vivid and forthright, this is the life story of Veronica Jones, a witness in the murder trial of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. She saw two other men run from the scene of the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner—she was a witness for Mumia's innocence. Unbeknownst to anyone but her younger sister, Veronica’s life was also intimately entwined with Faulkner’s.
Before she could testify, police detectives threatened her with 10-15 years in prison and separation from her young children if she did not falsely name Mumia as the shooter. At Mumia's trial she recanted her original and true witness statement and denied that she saw anyone run from the scene. This gave the prosecution evidence for conviction.
In 1996 when Veronica courageously came forward to redeem herself and correct a fourteen year old lie, notorious Judge Albert Sabo, “king of death row,” and the prosecution retaliated and had her handcuffed and arrested off the witness stand!
With intimidation tactics like this in an open courtroom, one can only imagine what happens behind closed doors.
This story of a courageous woman was written by Veronica's sister, Valerie. It contains a Forward and Commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal and a Legal Afterword by attorney Rachel Wolkenstein on the legal significance of Veronica’s testimony.
I went down under the High Speed Line, waited a few and came back up again. Then I ran over to Nick’s Roast Beef which was on Walnut Street, picked up a pay phone and dialed 911.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“A policeman’s just been shot on 13th and Locust.”
“Someone has just been shot at 13th and Locust?”
I used my jacket to wipe off my fingerprints.
My name is Valerie Jones. My older sister, Veronica, made that phone call in Philadelphia at about 3:55 a.m. on December 9, 1981. The mortally wounded victim was police officer Daniel Faulkner. The man accused of the shooting was Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known, black radio journalist. At the time of the shooting, my sister, who we called “Ronnie,” didn’t know the identity of the policeman and had no association with the alleged shooter. Her future, however, was about to become closely tied to Mumia’s. Ronnie’s past was already intimately entwined with Faulkner’s.
excerpted from the Introduction