Incarceration Nation

Cat On Fire

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Over half his life, Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson has been held in some of the toughest prisons in Pennsylvania, under some of the worst conditions, often in the hole.

For over 20 years, he has been part of one of the biggest lifer populations in America, people sentenced to death by time—life—forever.

But in 2012, a ray of light shone through the darkness when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out his unjust conviction, based on insufficiency of evidence, and ordered his prison doors opened.

A few months later, a great darkness fell when the U.S. Supreme Court, in a rare and almost unprecedented action, without briefs or oral argument, reinstated both his conviction and his life sentence.

Through tears, Cat left his new life, his new wife, his job, and friends and returned to Pennsylvania from his native Yonkers, New York—and walked, willingly, back into a prison cell.

As a teenager, Cat boxed in the ring, before the streets called him. Now as a man in his thirties, Cat laced up for the biggest battle of his life—his Freedom. 

His lawyers, a dedicated bunch led by the skillful Mike Wiseman, tore the case apart, and learned some rather astonishing things, like the State’s crack-addicted star witness gave over a-half-dozen statements in the days after the killing of a Harrisburg crack dealer, and even more astonishingly, she was first named as a prime suspect in the murder! (The jury, needless to say, never heard that.)

Those statements? Oh, yeah—they have never been turned over to the defense—not before trial—and not to this date (a blatant violation of Brady vs. Maryland, a U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1963, which required prosecutors disclose all evidence favorable to the accused!)

The cops threatened others with murder charges if they didn’t say Cat did it.

The kicker is this—cops and prosecutors knew Cat was out of town when Taraje Williams was killed and that he had nothing to do with it.

Several years ago, a Court tossed his conviction based upon insufficient evidence. Today, his lawyers have uncovered the truth: no evidence of guilt, and overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

He just awaits his day in court.

For more info, check out:

Write to Mumia at:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335


301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

Write to:

Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

Sign his petition and learn more at:

Contribute to Lorenzo Johnson’s campaign for freedom through code: Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC