Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Two men convicted in 1965 Malcolm X assassination to be exonerated

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Two men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X are set to be exonerated after more than 55 years, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Muhammad Aziz, 83, and the late Khalil Islam— who spent decades in prison for the crime — will have their convictions tossed on Thursday, following a nearly two-year investigation into the 1965 killing of the civil rights leader.

The DA’s office began reviewing the case in February 2020, in the wake of the Netflix documentary series “Who Killed Malcolm X?” — which followed historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad’s quest for answers about the notorious murder.

Malcolm X was shot to death on Feb. 21, 1965, when he appeared on stage at the Audobon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Aziz, Islam and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, were found guilty of the murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison a month later.

Khalil Islam, then also known as Thomas 15X Johnson, is booked as the third suspect in the slaying of Malcolm X in 1965.
Khalil Islam, then also known as Thomas 15X Johnson, is booked as the third suspect in the slaying of Malcolm X in 1965.
AP Photo, File

Both Aziz and Islam denied they were involved in the assassination — and Halim vouched for both of them, testifying that the men had “nothing to do with it,” according to the criminal justice group the Innocence Project.

The group, which represents Aziz, said last year that he still hoped to prove his innocence after being released in 1985 on parole.

Muhammad Abdul Aziz
Aziz pictured being escorted by detectives at police headquarters at 240 Centre Street after his arrest, in New York, Feb. 26, 1965.
AP

No physical evidence linked Aziz or Islam the to murder or the crime scene, and both had alibis backed by testimony.

Islam, who was released in 1987, died in 2009.

Malcolm X
Malcolm X was shot to death on Feb. 21, 1965.
AP Photo/Eddie Adams



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