Killer of Malcolm X Is Granted Parole
By ANDY NEWMAN and JOHN ELIGON
Published: March 19, 2010
After being turned down for parole 16 times, Malcolm X's only
confessed assassin is about to gain his freedom.
Thomas Hagan has been held since moments after shots rang out in the
Audubon Ballroom in 1965. He has been on work release for more than
two decades, but he still spends two days a week locked up at the
Lincoln Correctional Facility on West 110th Street in Manhattan.
On March 3, however, on his 17th try, Mr. Hagan was granted parole,
the State Division of Parole said. His final release date is
tentatively scheduled for April 28. The news was reported Thursday on
The Village Voice's Runnin' Scared blog.
Mr. Hagan, who turned 69 in jail on Tuesday, was a militant member of
the Nation of Islam on Feb. 21, 1965, when Malcolm X was shot while
giving a speech at the Audubon, in Washington Heights. Mr. Hagan,
then known as Talmadge X. Hayer, was captured by the crowd and shot
at and beaten before being rescued by the police.
Two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz (then known as Norman 3X Butler)
and Kahlil Islam (then Thomas 15X Johnson), were also charged with
the murder. They maintained their innocence. Mr. Hagan did not,
testifying at his trial in 1966 that he was responsible for the
murder and that his co-defendants were innocent.
All three men were sentenced to 20 years to life.
Mr. Hagan said in a 1977 affidavit that he and several accomplices
(not Mr. Aziz or Mr. Islam) decided to kill Malcolm X because he was
a "hypocrite" who had "gone against the leader of the Nation of
Islam," Elijah Muhammad. Mr. Hagan said that after one man shot
Malcolm X in the chest with a shotgun, he and another man fired
several more rounds at him.
Mr. Aziz was paroled in 1985, and in 1998 was named by Louis
Farrakhan to be chief of security for the Harlem mosque that Malcolm
X once headed. Mr. Islam was paroled in 1987.
Mr. Hagan, who earned a master's degree while in prison, according to
a 2008 profile in The New York Post, was placed on work release in
1988. In 2008, he was spending his free days with his wife and
children in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and working in a fast food restaurant.
"I've been incarcerated for 40 years, and I've had a good record all
around," he told The Post. "I don't see any reason for holding me."
Malcolm X assassin granted parole in New York
By MARY ESCH
March 19, 2010
ALBANY, N.Y. -- One of three men convicted of killing Malcolm X 45
years ago was granted release from weekends in prison in his 17th
appearance before a state parole board.
Thomas Hagan, 69, appeared before a parole panel March 3 and was
granted release effective April 28, state Division of Parole
spokeswoman Carole Weaver said Friday.
Until then, he'll remain at the Lincoln Correctional Facility in New
York City, where he has been locked up two days a week for 22 years.
The other five days, he's been allowed to work and live with his family.
Linda Foglia, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the
agency doesn't release information on where work-release inmates are
employed or where they live. While they're out of the prison, inmates
are subject to unannounced workplace and home visits by a parole officer.
Hagan was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in April 1966 on a
first-degree murder charge for shooting the civil rights activist
with a .45-caliber pistol at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan in 1965.
Hagan, then known as Talmadge X. Hayer, was beaten by the crowd after
the shooting. Muhammad Abdul Aziz, then known as Norman 3X Butler,
and Kahlil Islam, then Thomas 15X Johnson, were also convicted of
murder, but they maintained their innocence. They were paroled about
20 years ago.
Hagan said there were two other gunmen, but they were never identified.
Hagan's court papers say he "confessed to having fired shots into
Malcolm's body." Hagan testified at trial that his two co-defendants,
convicted with him, were not present at the shooting.
After he was denied parole in 2007, Hagan filed an appeal saying the
denial was arbitrary and capricious. His court papers said he had
"taken advantage of each and all of the programs and support systems
that enable him to lead a law-abiding lifestyle," and that he had
repeatedly expressed remorse for the shooting.
The Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment on