Thomas Hagan, 69, the only positively identified assassin of Malcolm X, was released on Monday after 45 years of incarceration. Thomas walked out of the Lincoln Correctional Facility in East Harlem a day early after paper work was completed faster than it normally is. And while Hagan had been turned down for parole 16 times since 1980, he had been on a work release program since 1989.
But the release of Thomas Hagan brings focus back on the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom. Accounts are muddled. Hagan was the only gunman who was apprehended on the scene that day after being shot in the leg by one of Malcolm’s security guards.
Two other men, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam, were found guilty of murder in 1966, and got 20 years to life. Hagan has maintained that these two men were innocent and no witnesses remember them as the other gunmen at the Audubon, that February afternoon 44 years ago. Malcolm aides and body guards swore that these two men, also known as Norman Butler and Thomas Johnson, were not present on the day of the shooting.
At least 3 different weapons were involved in the shooting, a sawed-off, 12 gauge shotgun, a 45 pistol and a 9 millimeter automatic Lugar. This is from a FBI report dated February 22, 1965. The shotgun and 45 were retrieved, but the Lugar wasn’t ever found. The 45 pistol is the gun used by Thomas Hagan; it had been picked up by a Nation of Islam bodyguard who took it home, cleaned it and turned it over to the FBI.
And there are questions about a man by the name of Gene Roberts. Why was he let go by the police after initial questioning? Did he have clearance as a special agent of BOSS (Bureau of Special Services)? Gene Roberts was seen up by the podium where Malcolm was speaking. He appeared to be signaling bodyguards to change their positions, as if getting things into place for an imminent attack.
Many people still believe today that Thomas Hagan and four other unidentified men participated in the assassination of Malcolm X. Even today, it’s still unknown exactly who these other four participants were. Witnesses said they ran down the stairs of the Audubon and escaped out to the street, while being pelted with folding chairs. Why weren’t they ever identified and why were Butler and Johnson framed?
Yes, many questions still arise regarding just what happened at the Audubon Ballroom, Feb. 1965? I need a copy of The Judas Factor. Then there is the theory that Malcolm was eliminated as part of the program of Cointelpro (counter-intelligence program), that had as a goal to eliminate Martin Luther King also. Perhaps agents of BOSS were planted into the Nation of Islam in order to wreak havoc within the Black Nationalist movement?
And so Thomas Hagan was used as a pawn to neutralize who may be the most important African American leader this country has ever known. As his years withered away in prison, it must have dawned on Hagan just who used him and for what purpose they had used him. (sources-CNN-Malcolm X killer freed after 44 years and Malcolm X by Walter Bell in Trutv.com)