by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
After being turned down for parole 16 times, Thomas Hagan - also know as Mujahid Halim, the confessed assassin of civil rights leader Malcolm X - is about to be released from Lincoln Correctional Facility in Manhattan.
On March 3, on his 17th appearance before a parole board, Hagan was granted parole, the New York State Division of Parole said. Hagen's final release date is tentatively scheduled for April 28, the AP reports.
"I've been incarcerated for 40 years, and I've had a good record all around," said Hagen. "I don't see any reason for holding me."
On February 21, 1965, in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when three men rushed forward and shot at him, hitting him 16 times.
Hagen is the only confessed assassin of Malcolm X, two other men were convicted but maintained innocence and have since been released.
Hagan said in a sworn affidavit in 1977 that he and several accomplices (who did not include the two convicted men) plotted to kill Malcolm X because he was a "hypocrite" who had "gone against the leader of the Nation of Islam," Elijah Muhammad. 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. Hagan was a militant member of the Nation of Islam.
Hagan, known at the time as Talmadge X. Hayer, was captured by the crowd and shot at by Malcolm X's bodyguards and beaten before being rescued by the police. At the time of the assassination, Hagen was 22 and a married father of two.
On February 28, 1966, during his trail, Hagen confessed to the assassination of Malcolm X, testifying that the other two defendants had nothing to do with the murder. Hagen and his three accomplices, whom he did not name, had been hired to carry out the assassination. All three defendants were sentenced to 20 years to life.
Hagen has been on work release for more than 20 years. He has earned his master's degree in prison. In 2008, he was spending his free days with his wife and children in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and working in a fast food restaurant.
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, human rights activist, civil rights leader, and father of six. At the time of his death, he was 39 years old.
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