Crime Two men convicted of killing Malcolm X will be exonerated
2 men to be cleared in 1965 assassination of Malcolm X
NEW YORK (AP) — Two men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X are set to be cleared after more than half a century, with prosecutors now saying authorities withheld evidence in the civil rights leader's killing, according to a news report Wednesday. The New York Times reported Wednesday that Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison for the crime, were being exonerated after a nearly two-year investigation by their lawyers and the Manhattan district attorney's office. A court date is expected Thursday.“These men did not get the justice that they deserved," District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told the newspaper.
Two of the three men convicted of 1965 killing civil rights leader Malcolm X will soon be exonerated, Manhattan's district attorney announced Wednesday.
After a 22-month investigation, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. found that authorities withheld evidence in the trial of Muhammad A. Aziz, 83, and the late Khalil Islam, who died in 2009, the New York Times. Both men spent over two decades in prison for a crime they vowed they did not commit.
Vance Jr. will hold a news conference Thursday to announce the investigation's findings.
Malcolm X, who was born Malcolm Little, was killed while giving a speech at New York's Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. Aziz, Islam, and another man, Thomas Hagan, were convicted for the murder, but Aziz and Islam maintained their innocence.
2 men found guilty in Malcolm X assassination expected to have convictions thrown out
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office began reexamining the investigation last year. A spokesman said the FBI cooperated with the district attorney’s review. © AP FILE â” Thomas 15X Johnson, center, is booked as the third suspect in the slaying of Malcolm X, in New York, March 3, 1965. There’s a hearing Thursday at which the two convictions are expected to be thrown out. MORE: Today Marks 50th Anniversary of Malcolm X's Death © Bettmann Archive via Getty Images, FILE Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X speaks, 1963.
At trial, witness statements and evidence presented by the prosecution were contradictory and did not match one another, according to the Times. Both Islam and Aziz provided alibis and no physical evidence connecting them to the crime — but they were still sentenced to life in prison, the Times reported.
"This points to the truth that law enforcement over history has often failed to live up to its responsibilities," Vance told the publication. "These men did not get the justice that they deserved."
The district attorney's office opened the investigation following the release of the Netflix documentary "Who Killed Malcolm X?"
In November 2020, a letter from former undercover NYPD officer Raymond Wood was released. Wood claimed he was coerced by his NYPD supervisors to lure members of Malcolm X's security detail into committing crimes that resulted in the FBI arresting them days before the shooting.
Two Convicted in Death of Malcolm X to Be Exonerated After Review Shows Police Errors
A lengthy investigation led to the decision to throw out the 1966 convictions.The New York Times reported that the Manhattan district attorney and the lawyers for the two men—Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam—said the convictions will be thrown out during a Thursday court hearing.
"There was no security to prevent the gunman from coming into the building," his cousin, Reginald Wood Jr. said.
In February, Malcolm X's daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, told "CBS Mornings" her family always had about her father's death. "I can say I was surprised because I was caught off guard, but it's something that my family and many always wondered. But most importantly, we wanted to ensure that the truth is uncovered," she said.
Malcolm X's Daughter Malikah Shabazz Found Dead in Brooklyn Home .
Malikah Shabazz was 56 years old Shabazz was found unconscious by her daughter in her Midwood, Brooklyn apartment at around 5 p.m. local time, the New York Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE. Authorities also shared that Shabazz's death does not appear suspicious. Police told PEOPLE that she was pronounced dead on the scene by EMS. An official cause of death has yet to be determined by a medical examiner.