William Dale Singletary, Witness of Mumia’s Innocence
(February 3, 1950-December 31, 2011)
Introductory note: I learned from William Singletary’s wife, Jeannette, that he died this morning, December 30, 2011. Bill was a courageous man who lived fighting to make the truth known—that Mumia is innocent in the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner. For that Bill suffered severe personal and financial consequences. I’ve known Bill since June 1990 when he came forward with his eyewitness testimony for Mumia and as a witness at the PCRA [Post Conviction Relief Act] hearing in 1995, when I was co-counsel for Mumia.
William Dale Singletary died on December 31, 2011 at the age of sixty-one. Being an eyewitness to the murder of Daniel Faulkner, and his unwavering insistence that Mumia was not the shooter, forever changed his life.
His wife Jeannette had a final message from Bill to Mumia and all his supporters: “I didn’t know Mumia personally, but love him like a brother. I know what he’s gone through and he is innocent. I would give up everything for Mumia to be free.”
William Singletary was one of the first victims of the police vendetta against Mumia. At the Round House immediately following the December 9, 1981 shooting, homicide detectives interrogated Bill for hours and threatened him with bodily harm and the end of his business unless he either said he saw Mumia shoot Daniel Faulkner or that he didn’t witness the shooting at all. He wasn’t allowed to leave the Round House until he wrote what the police wanted. Bill, a Vietnam veteran, was the owner of a car repair and towing company. In the months before Mumia’s trial police officers appeared at Bill’s business with drawn guns, hassled his drivers and trashed his workplace. This harassment forced him to close his business and Bill was driven from Philadelphia out of fear for his life and the safety of his family.
In 1995 William Singletary testified at Mumia’s PCRA hearing to his true eyewitness account. The Philadelphia’s Daily News front-page story after Bill’s August 11, 1995 testimony was headlined, “For Mumia … Best Comes Last. Final defense witness claims another man murdered Officer Faulkner. Witness: Mumia Innocent.”
On the stand under oath, Bill described that Mumia did not shoot police officer Faulkner and arrived after Faulkner was shot. He said a tall passenger in Bill Cook’s VW wearing a green army jacket shot Faulkner. Cynthia White, the prosecution’s star witness, was not on the scene, but came up to Bill afterwards. He testified that numbers of police, including “white shirts” appeared within moments of the shooting. Bill also graphically described how the police viciously beat and kicked Mumia, who was shot and critically wounded, before throwing him into the police wagon.
Bill testified that detectives tore up his witness statements at the Round House. “A Detective Green told me to write what he wanted me to write or they would take me in the elevator and beat me up.” The prosecution aided the suppression of the truth that Mumia was not the shooter, and fabricated a statement from a police office that Bill was not on the scene during the shooting.
William Singletary’s testimony was a key component of the evidence produced at the three PCRA hearings in 1995, 1996 and 1997 that the prosecution’s case for Mumia’s conviction had no basis in reality. The purported eyewitness statements, ballistics evidence and supposed confession resulted from police and prosecutorial coercion, suppression, favors and outright fabrication. “Hanging judge” Albert Sabo dismissed William Singletary’s testimony as incredible.
It is a testament to the integrity and courage of William Singletary that he came forward to testify in Mumia’s defense. He gave much of his life to the fight for the truth in Mumia’s case—that Mumia is innocent in the shooting death of police officer Daniel Faulkner and that Mumia’s arrest, conviction and death sentence resulted from a police and prosecutorial frame-up.
William Singletary was living in North Carolina when he died. He is survived by his wife Jeannette and daughter Sheadale.
—December 31, 2011