NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman will be spared from the death penalty in a new order approved by Judge Monty Watkins on Friday.
Abdur’Rahman has served 32 years on a first-degree murder conviction. Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk and Abdur’Rahman’s defense attorney Brad MacNeal reached an agreement to sentence him to prison for life instead, after MacNeal argued on Wednesday that racial bias and misconduct played a role in his 1987 trial.
Abdur'Rahman will serve three consecutive life sentences.
This is a developing story, stay tuned to News4 for updates.
NASHVILLE (WSMV) - A Tennessee death row inmate’s life could be spared pending a judge’s decision.
Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman is scheduled to be executed in April, but if a judge decides prosecutors acted with racial bias during the original trial, the death penalty could be dropped from his sentence.
Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk and Abdur’Rahman’s defense attorney Brad MacNeal reached an agreement to sentence him to prison for life instead, pending Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins’ approval.
Abdur’Rahman has served 32 years on a first-degree murder conviction.
MacNeal argued on Wednesday that racial bias and misconduct played a role in his 1987 trial.
Funk suggested he agrees.
“Overt racial bias has no place in the justice system,” Funk said in court. “Further, and most importantly, the pursuit of justice is incompatible with deception. Prosecutors must never be dishonest to or mislead defense attorneys, courts, or juries.”
Complaints filed against an Assistant District Attorney in Rutherford County by four prosecutors in the Davidson County accuse him of saying, “Blacks hate Mexicans,” in a 2015 session discussing how to pick juries.
MacNeal went on to claim the original prosecutor in his trial has a history of unethical practices and racist remarks.
After the hearing, he praised Funk’s decision.
“It takes moral courage to correct a 32-year-old wrong. It takes political courage to correct a wrong for which you are not responsible,” said MacNeal.
DA has submitted a court order to remove the death penalty from Abdur’Rahman’s sentence, and waive his right to a retrial. It was signed by the defendant and his attorney @WSMV pic.twitter.com/pCgIV5I6Lj— Rebecca Cardenas (@RebeccaWSMV) August 28, 2019
Watkins is expected to issue a ruling on Thursday.