Two out of three Malcolm X murder convictions were wrong

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam are innocent of the 1965 murder of Malcolm X – it has now been revealed. The Innocence Project has announced that a joint investigation unearthed new evidence of the men’s innocence, including Federal Bureau of Investigation documents that had been withheld from the defence and prosecution. (News reports) 

Malcolm X was gunned down while giving a speech on Feb. 21, 1965, at an event at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Three men were found guilty of murdering him.

The three men were convicted in 1966. Mr. Aziz, now 83 years old, was paroled in 1985 after serving 19 years in prison. Mr. Islam was paroled in 1987 after 21 years in prison. Mr. Hagan, 80, who was paroled in 2010, continued to say Messrs. Aziz and Islam were innocent and pointed to the involvement of other men in the killing.

‘I told you’

Thomas Hagan confessed to investigators that he fired shots into Malcolm X’s body. However, Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam — the two other men convicted of the murder who were known at the time as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, respectively — always maintained their innocence. Mr. Hagan, who previously was known as Talmadge X Hayer, also told investigators at the time of his arrest that Messrs. Aziz and Islam weren’t involved in the killing, according to court documents.

The revelations followed the 2020 Netflix documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” that raised questions about the guilt of two of the men convicted of the assassination.

Not only is this story a good example of the importance of the Innocence Project and investigative journalism; it is also a terrible example of how the criminal justice system (this time in the US) is not to be trusted 100%.

“The assassination of Malcolm X was a historic event that demanded a scrupulous investigation and prosecution but, instead, produced one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice that I have ever seen,” said Barry Scheck, a lawyer for the Innocence Project.


This entry was posted in General articles. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Two out of three Malcolm X murder convictions were wrong

  1. owen allen says:

    Would not the University of Tasmania, Hobart be an ideal uni to establish the Innocence Project.
    And so I reread comments and Lisbeth gives them a reason not to.
    This is an apologists attitude. This is why Tasmania is in so much strife now.
    Cowardice, I won’t be able to have a happy life.
    But you are forever dominated by corruption, a slave.
    Young people went to war to die for others, to fight corruption.
    The Tasmanian Regime has declared war on the peasants; hence the corruption as we witness it today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

  2. Lisbeth Eastoe says:

    I think, that the law students in Tasmania are too afraid to raise their collective, or individual voices, as they will, in the near future be in front of the judiciary and working alongside Department of Public Prosecution who have carried out this travesty. Self-interest keeps them from speaking out and who can blame them. Hobart is little more than a country town and indulges in sacrificing the professional reputations of those with integrity.

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      Without doubt there is in Australia an unbridled acceptance of cowardly conformity. Every section of every governing administration is connected to some form of collusive behaviour that through supposed legal and democratic justifications, has denigrated and devalued our nation since its European inception.
      No state or administrative organisation is exempt, and though we have moped along in some form of supposed integrity and progress for in excess of two centuries now, the reality of established injustice can be confirmed to date by the atrocious statistics of not only black deaths in custody, but, as another example, among the numbers of once willing, healthy, volunteers, who have dolefully taken their own lives after having volunteered into our nations Defence Forces.
      The comfortable conformity of the accepted status quo needs to be routed and disposed of Lisbeth, and until the cowardly compromising custom is rejected as a nationally accepted culture, our continued regression, I fear, is assured.
      It takes a certain type of individual to willingly conform, continue, and support the travesties we have all become aware of in our disgraced public service organisations. Until the centric valued that you write of, are expunged, with justifiable penalties, through the exposure of their failures to add nothing to community values, apart from their observance and maintenance of obsequious cultural self serving and pomposity, little will ever alter.
      It takes a certain type of timorous character to fulfill the requirements of the encouraged conformity, within, though readily recognised deceitful and disgraced public service organisations, and to perpetuate the pitiable status quo.

      • andrew says:

        For the record, there is a bit of good news regarding black deaths in custody to which you refer:
        “Twenty-five years has passed since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC). This paper examines the trends and characteristics of Indigenous deaths in custody since 1991–92, using data obtained through the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP). NDICP data show Indigenous prisoners are now less likely than non-Indigenous prisoners to die in prison custody…”
        That’s from the Australian Institute of Criminology at:

  3. owen allen says:

    So come on lawyers and law students and universities.
    Bring it on in Australia.
    It is your chance to really make a difference.
    Innocence Project Australia.
    But, Sue Neill-Fraser needs to be released NOW.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.