34 Years After Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman Was Sentenced to Die, He Is Removed From Death Row

The resentencing of a Tennessee inmate that took him off of death row will not be appealed. Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman's conviction of a 1987 murder was overturned last month by Judge Monte Watkins due to evidence that the jury wasn't selected properly due to racism. Despite originally planning to appeal the tossing, Attorney General Herbert Slatery walked back those plans on Friday.

"My office has reviewed the court's order, and we have significant concerns about its legality," wrote Slatery in his decision to Nashville's District Attorney Glenn Funk. "Despite these concerns, we have decided not to appeal, in part, because we think it would be unfair to expose Mr. Abdur'Rahman to continued uncertainty about his sentence."

However, Slatery will still be monitoring the case closely. He had originally tried to overturn the throwing of Abdur'Rahmen's case in 2019 after presenting evidence that the jury pool was racially biased. According to The Nashville Tennessean, Black jurors were shown to be illegally kept out of his jury in order to preserve an all-white jury.

"Although we have chosen not to appeal this order, we will continue to monitor all efforts to unlawfully modify or vacate final judgments," Slatery's statement said, "and we will take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to ensure that the law is followed."

Abdur'Rahmen pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death due to the stabbing death of Patrick Daniels. Norma Jean Norman was also stabbed but survived. He had also pleaded guilty to attempted murder and armed robbery.

Abdur'Rahmen was originally scheduled to be executed in 2002. However, days before his scheduled execution, it was canceled indefinitely. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison but will not be sentenced to death due to the resentencing. He shares a similar story to Pervis Payne, whose death sentence was vacated in November due to his mental disability and is currently awaiting a resentencing.

Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman
Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced that he wouldn't appeal the resentencing of Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman, a Tennessee death row inmate, to life in prison after initially resisting the move just two years prior. In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, Abdur'Rahman attends a hearing in Nashville, Tennessee. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File

The stabbing took place in Norman's house while her two young daughters, Katrina and Shawanna, huddled in a back bedroom.

His attorneys eventually signed an agreement with Funk to reduce his sentence in return for Abdur'Rahman agreeing to drop any future appeals.

However, Slatery had argued that Watkins did not have the authority to modify Abdur'Rahman's sentence based merely on an agreement with the district attorney. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals agreed. It said Watkins could review the petition again but ordered him to follow procedures outlined in the appeals court's decision. That order set the stage for November's do-over.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.