Killer of Malcolm X Granted Parole
New York Times
March 19, 2010, 3:03 pm
By ANDY NEWMAN AND JOHN ELIGON
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.
Thomas HaganAssociated Press/New York Daily News Mr. Hagan in an emergency room after being beaten by the crowd at the Audubon Ballroom.
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
March 19, 2010
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 5:14 p.m. ET
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — 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 Hagan’s parole.