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Malcolm X assassination: Prosecutors may reopen case following new information in Netflix documentary

Series investigates the prosecution of three men in civil rights leader's 1965 murder

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 12 February 2020 23:01 GMT
A six-part Netflix documentary series investigates the killing of civil rights leader Malcolm X.
A six-part Netflix documentary series investigates the killing of civil rights leader Malcolm X. (Getty Images)

Questions raised in a new documentary series about the murder of civil rights icon Malcolm X in Harlem 55 years ago have prompted the Manhattan district attorney's office to reinvestigate the case.

The six-part Netflix series Who Killed Malcom X? disputes the narrative that convicted the three men who received life sentences for the murder of the activist, who was shot moments after he took the stage at the Audubon Ballroom in New York on 21 February 1965.

Mujahid Abdul Halim — then known as Talmadge X Hayer and Thomas Hagan — admitted to the murder decades ago, but he has insisted on the innocence of the other two men: Muhammad Abdul Aziz (formerly known as Norman 3X Butler) and Khalil Islam (formerly known as Thomas 15X Johnson).

The series posits that four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, New Jersey, played a role in the murder.

A spokesman for Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr said that after a meeting with the Innocence Project, an organisation that seeks exoneration for wrongly convicted incarcerated people, Mr Vance "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".

Mr Aziz, now 81 years old, was released on parole in 1985. Mr Islam died in 2009.

According to the Innocence Project, no physical evidence links Mr Aziz, who also had an alibi at the time of the killing, to the scene of the crime.

At his murder trial in 1966, Mr Halim testified that the two men were not involved, but it wasn't until 1978 that he named the other men who he said were responsible for the murder. Despite new evidence, a judge declined motions to vacate the convictions of Mr Aziz and Mr Islam.

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