Paroled after 45 years
By ALEX GINSBERG <http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/malcolm_killer_out_BATzaNlewEKl6HTke0eenK> Post Wire Services
Last Updated: 4:43 AM, April 28, 2010
The only man who admitted his role in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X was released yesterday after 45 years.
Thomas Hagan, 69, be came a free man around 11 a.m., walking out of the Lincoln Correctional Facility in East Harlem a day earlier than planned after his paper work was completed faster than expected, correction officials said.
“I really haven’t had any time to gather my thoughts on anything,” he said, declining further comment.
Hagan was granted parole last month after being turned down 16 times since he first became eligible in 1980.
Since 1989, however, he’s been on work release, able to spend five nights a week with his family in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Hagan was convicted in 1966 of being part of the team of gunmen that shot down the civil-rights leader at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.
He admitted firing at Malcolm X after another man blasted the leader with a shotgun.
“My thoughts are that it never should have happened, number one, that I have a lot of regret about my actions and participating in that,” Hagan told the parole board at his most recent hearing in March.
He told the board the killing was sparked by Malcolm X’s public comments accusing Elijah Muhammad, then head of the Nation of Islam, of adultery. Hagan and his cohorts, all Nation members, hatched a scheme to kill Malcolm X for insulting their leader.
Of the five men believed to have orchestrated Malcolm X’s killing, only two others, Khalil Islam and Muhammad Abd Al-Aziz, were charged. The two, who have already been paroled, have maintained their innocence, and Hagan has claimed that they were not involved.
Although he’s still a practicing Muslim, Hagan said he no longer considers himself a Nation of Islam member.
“It wasn’t really a correct ideology,” he told The Post in a 2008 interview. “There are a lot of misconceptions.”