45 Years After Assassination
Farrakhan Never Charged
Thomas Hagan, the only man to admit shooting Malcolm X was freed on parole yesterday – – 45 years after he gunned down the Black Muslim leader.
“He was released today. His release was approved,” said Linda Foglia, spokesman for the New York state department of correctional services.
Hagan, who confessed to the 1965 shooting of Malcolm X, had been partially free on work release for the last 22 years, although he was still required to spend two nights a week at a low-security New York City prison.
Hagan, 69, was a member of the Nation of Islam movement when Malcolm X was shot in New York while giving a speech to hundreds of people.
Two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, were also charged with the murder. They maintained their innocence, but Hagan admitted at his 1966 trial that he was responsible for the slaying. All three men were sentenced to 20 years to life.
Hagan was placed on work release in 1988, according to a 2008 profile in the New York Post. At that time, he was spending free time with his wife and children, and was working in a fast food restaurant.
Malcolm X, before becoming an orthodox Sunni Muslim, had been a top Nation of Islam figure.
The assassins gunned him down out of anger at his split with the leadership of the Nation of Islam, the black Muslim movement for which he had once served as chief spokesman, Hagan said at the time.
Hagan, who was known as Talmadge X Hayer at the time of the shooting, has repeatedly expressed regret for his role in the assassination
In 1964, when Malcolm opted to abandon the Nation of Islam in order to establish Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI), an organization with ties to wealthy Saudi Sunnis, Elijah Muhammad said: “This hypocrite is going to get blasted off the face of the earth.“
In the December 4, 1964 issue of Muhammad Speaks, Louis “the Charmer” Farrakhan, who occupied Malcolm’s former position as Elijah Muhammad’s assistant and spokesman, wrote: “If any Muslim backs a fool like Malcolm in building a mosque, he would be a fool himself. . . . Only those who wish to be led to hell, or to their doom, will follow Malcolm. The die is set, and Malcolm shall not escape. . . . Such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death.”
Farrakan’s words served as a directive. On the early hours of February 14, Malcolm’s house in Queens was firebombed as he and his family slept. A week later, Malcolm was gunned down while addressing a crowd of 400 people at the Audobon Ballroom near Harlem. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Presbyterian Hospital.
The autopsy revealed that Malcolm had been hit 15 times with .9 mm caliber bullets and shotgun pellets, with 5 exit wounds. 9 bullets and pellets were retrieved from the body.
Malcolm hated America. He advocated racial violence and decried Christian values. “Christianity,” he said, “is a concocted religion based on lies to keep the black man ignorant.” He denounced Jews as “vampires” who “suck the life-blood of our community through their interests.” He advocated racial violence and met with Communist leaders, including Fidel Castro, to undermine American democracy. He encouraged blacks to shun military service and to refrain from pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes.
But the Black Muslim leader is lionized by contemporary America. His Autobiography remains required reading in high schools and colleges. A glossy movie of his life with Denzel Washington became an international success. And the United States Postal Service in 1999 has issued a special commemorative stamp in his honor.