In a bizarre twist of fate, Mumia Abu-Jamal — the convicted cop killer whose quarter century on death row in Pennsylvania has made him internationally famous — may find that his very life hinges on the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court argument on Tuesday in the case of a neo-Nazi triple murderer who wore a Hitler mustache at trial as he testified proudly about his desire to kill blacks, Jews and gays.

For Abu-Jamal, the stakes couldn’t be higher. And the worst-case scenario is that the decision in the Ohio case, Smith v. Spisak, could directly lead to a reinstatement of Abu-Jamal’s death sentence.

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