Malcolm X Assassination Case Reopened

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Olivia Rondeau Contributor
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A new Netflix documentary has inspired the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to re-investigate the case of renowned activist Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination.

The “Who Killed Malcolm X” series, released February 7, has fostered many questions and doubts about the original convictions of the case. Just days after it aired, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it would review the case due to new information coming to light, according to CNN.

Mujahid Abdul Halim, known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan, Muhammad Abdul Aziz, known as Norman 3X Butler, and Khalil Islam, known Thomas 15X Johnson, were found guilty of the murder of Malcolm X in 1966 and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Aziz, 81, the last surviving member of the allegedly guilty party is still maintaining his innocence. In the documentary series, historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad claimed that both Aziz and Islam had alibis for when Malcolm X was shot in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom. (RELATED: Is It Time For Conservatives To Re-Evaluate Malcolm X?)

“The thing is, two of them weren’t even in the Audubon ballroom that day,” he said. Halim owned up to partaking in the assassination, but corroborated with the other two accused assailants that they weren’t there.

Aziz was paroled in 1985 and is fighting to clear his name in conjunction with the nonprofit organization Innocence Project, which works to exonerate wrongly convicted felons. The Manhattan DA has agreed to work with them to find out the truth. The following statement was made to NBC News from the office of DA Cyrus Vance Jr:

District Attorney Vance has met with representatives from the Innocence Project and associated counsel regarding this matter. He has determined that the district attorney’s office will begin a preliminary review of the matter, which will inform the office regarding what further investigative steps may be undertaken. District Attorney Vance has assigned Senior Trial Counsel Peter Casolaro and Conviction Integrity Deputy Chief Charles King to lead this preliminary review.

“We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz. Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” said Barry Scheck, Innocence Project co-founder and special counsel. He further went on to applaud Casolaro for his previous experience in exonerating falsely convicted people.

“Mr. Casolaro did extraordinary work on the case of the Exonerated Five and Mr. King is an experienced member of the Conviction Integrity Program. We look forward to working cooperatively with them to see that justice is done,”  he said on the Innocence Project website. (RELATED: Re-Visiting The Central Park 5)

The organization believes that there is no physical evidence placing either Aziz nor Islam at the crime scene. In “Who Killed Malcolm X?” Aziz claimed that he was at his home nursing a leg injury, not at the Audubon Ballroom.

The Manhattan DA will continue to investigate, and get to the bottom of the mystery with the Innocence Project and Mr. Aziz.