NPR logo Malcolm X Killer Paroled 45 Years After Murder

Malcolm X Killer Paroled 45 Years After Murder

Police Sgt. Alvin Aronoff, left, grips arms of 22-Year-Old Thomas Hagan in the emergency room of Jewish hospital, Feb. 21, 1965, New York. AP Photo hide caption

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Thomas Hagan, who admitted to taking part in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, was paroled Tuesday by New York State Tuesday.

Hagan was one of three men who according to investigators took part in the shooting of one of the most controversial and larger-than-life heroes of the civil rights and black nationalist movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

At a February 1965 speech at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom in New York, with his wife and young children watching in the audience, Malcolm X was shot down after two of the men in the plot caused a disturbance in the audience. Investigators determined the disturbance was a diversion to distract those who provided Malcolm X with security. Hagan was wounded in the aftermath of the shooting.

About Hagan, the Associated Press reports:

He had spent two days a week at a Manhattan prison under a work-release program.

The 69-year-old Hagan was the last man still serving time in the 1965 killing. He and two others were convicted of murder.

Hagan says he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. But he says the two men who were convicted with him were not involved. They maintained their innocence and were paroled in the 1980s.

Hagan has repeatedly expressed regret.