2 Men Charged With the Assassination of Malcolm X Will Be Exonerated 55 Years Later

Malcolm X was assassinated 55-years ago. Now, the two men convicted of the murder are expected to have their convictions overturned, reigniting long-held suspicions about who killed the civil rights activist. 

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Muhammad Aziz,83, and the late Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison for the crime, were being exonerated after a 22-year investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced the news in an interview with The New York Times.

“These men did not get the justice that they deserved,” he said, apologizing for the error which landed the two men behind bars for decades. Vance confessed.

Malcolm X was shot to death on February 21, 1965, in New York City’s Audubon Ballroom, where hundreds had come to hear him speak. Three individuals opened fire inside the ballroom, striking him onstage.

In March 1966, Aziz, Islam, and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, known at the time of the crime as Talmadge Hayer and then later as Thomas Hagan, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Hagan stated that he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X but that neither Aziz nor Islam were involved.

The two, then identified as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, maintained their innocence throughout. Hagan was released on parole in 2010. He suspected two other guys of being gunmen, but no one else was ever arrested. In 1985, Aziz was released. He has reached the age of 83. Two years later, Islam was released, and he died in 2009.

This is a developing story.

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