Malcolm X assassin to be released on parole

"I've been incarcerated for 40 years, and I've had a good record all around. I don't see any reason for holding me." —Thomas Hagan, the confessed killer of Malcolm X. The state agrees with him: he will soon be out on parole, a murderer and a free man.


  1. It’s all about one’s perception of what jail is for. If jail is for rehabilitation, then if this guy’s rehabilitated, by all means let him out.

    Mr. Hagan is very luck he didn’t commit murder in TX or one of the other states that use the death penalty.

  2. 40 years seems enough time for someone to change. If the parole board (who presumably know a lot more about him than me) think he should be let out then I agree with them.

  3. According to the article, he’s been nearly “a murderer and a free man” for about 20 years now. Now he just doesn’t have to pop in twice a week for lockdown.

  4. He said that the other two men convicted were not accomplices, but he’s never named the other assassins. For that reason alone, parole should’ve been denied.

  5. If he had done the time, then he deserves to be freed. He doesn’t deserve to make money on the book he probably plans to write, but if he was a good prisoner and is eligible and has shown remorse he should be paroled.

  6. “…he will soon be…a murderer and a free man.”

    Yes, and? That is the way our criminal justice system is supposed to work isn’t it? He served his time and paid his “debt to society” as prescribed by law. He’s as entitled to his freedom as you or I.

    Further, parole itself is a rather restrictive form of “freedom”. Many choices we may take for granted are made for the parolee by the state.

  7. #2: Not to mention he’s lucky he didn’t murder a prominent and beloved white figure. He’d exist only in history books by now for sure.

    Oh, subjective justice.

    1. Right, like the guy that assassinated Robert F. Kennedy or the moron that killed John Lennon? Existing only in history books for sure…Wait, they were both imprisoned.

      Oh, subjective regard to the facts.

  8. The impact of martyrdom on the civil rights movement aside, I don’t think he’s repaid his debt to society. This is more like “sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done”. Maybe had he used the time to become the next Mandela or Gandhi, we could start talking about repaying debt. No I think he’s still squarely in the red.

  9. I doubt that John Hinckley, who tried to assassinate Reagan, will be released in the 40th year after his crime was committed (2021), even though Hinckley was unsuccessful in his attempt to kill has been long ago rehabilitated.

  10. Tom Hagan? After all those years working for Don and Michael Corlione they finally caught him.

  11. Wow Xeni , give the guy a break. He was locked up for forty years. This means your country is not completely fucked up.

  12. What’s way more alarming is the number of people like Leonard Peltier, about whom you must at the very least say there are serious doubts about his guilt, who will probably never see parole. Peltier’s next parole hearing is scheduled for 2024, nearly 50 years after his alleged crime. If he is still alive, he will be an 80 year old man.

    This kind of “justice” is not about what you did; it’s about who you are and who you (allegedly, at least) did it to. Tub-thumping about leniency for convicted criminals will surely do more harm than good under the circumstances.

  13. There are some people who should never be granted parole, but take away that possibility and you also take away any incentive for convicted felons to behave themselves.

    There was a great story on “This American Life” about how screwed up the parole system for lifers in California (and many other states) is. Highly trained parole boards spend months evaluating thousands of cases, of which a very small portion are recommended for parole each year. Then 99% of the time the governor just overturns the decision anyway.

  14. No worse than all the other murderers who are walking around as free men after serving their time. Almost nobody would even notice if it wasn’t for the fact that he killed somebody famous and popular.

  15. The United States of America is a country that was founded by and for lawyers (and is still run by same). An unfortunate side effect of this is a SERIOUSLY screwed up legal system. This is a country where teenage stoners with two joints get life in prison, while child rapists get 30-day suspended sentences. The sad truth is that the American legal system has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with procedure.

    1. This is a country where teenage stoners with two joints get life in prison, while child rapists get 30-day suspended sentences.

      There are plenty of examples of real failures within our legal system but I’m pretty sure neither of those things have ever happened.

        1. While those stories were both excellent examples of failures within our legal system neither was what you described in the earlier post. John Sinclair was neither a teenager nor did he get a life sentence for those two joints, and the asshole rapist was given a 20-year suspended sentence rather than a 30-day one.

          Honestly, the real stories are bad enough that I don’t know why you felt you had to make facts up. If anything it just hurts your credibility when you make otherwise valid points.

          1. Here’s an idea: maybe this isn’t about you. Maybe – just maybe – you should stop picking nits and allow someone else to express an opinion that differs from yours. If you want the rest of us to take you seriously, maybe you should try to express an opinion that’s genuinely yours, rather than just a denial of someone else’s opinion. Or is that too much to ask?

          2. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.” -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          3. I must agree with Brainspore in #30. Making up facts decreases your credibility rather than adds to it. Yes, the legal system makes numerous mistakes. Nobody here seems to be questioning that, but hyperbole to make your point does nobody any favors.

            And I agree it’s not about you, or Brainspore. The base question here is “did Hagan fulfill his sentence as proscribed by the state, and is he likely to re-offend?” The parole board says he has met their requirements. Justice doesn’t equate to “when we feel like it we’ll let you out”. If Hagan has done what the state has required of him then he should be released as long as it is safe for the public.

            PS For further clarification, LeCompte didn’t get JUST a suspended sentence, he got 20 years probation plus treatment as a sexual offender. The fact that the victim’s family supported the sentence says to me that the sentence was probably appropriate, and therefore likely not the miscarriage of justice you’re looking to make an example of.

      1. Xeni, are you suggesting that all murderers be put away for the rest of their natural lives, or executed? Or that murderers who have served the time decided for them by the justice system be put on a kind of Megan’s list of criminals, so that their punishment should continue for as long as possible? Or possibly that this should happen only to assassins of famous people? Or just those of famous people you feel well disposed towards?

        Yes, he’s a murderer, and he’ll be known for that for the rest of his life, some people will be determined to never let him forget it. And Peter Watts is a felon, so perhaps we should never let him forget that either?

        How much punishment is enough, and how do we decide that? This is not an easy question and it will probably never be settled to everyone’s satisfaction. If you think you have an answer, please share it with us.

  16. “Mr. Aziz was paroled in 1985, and in 1998 was named by Louis Farrakhan to be chief of security for the Harlem mosque that Malcolm X once headed.”
    Um, why would Farrakhan do that? Just how implicated was he in the assassination?

  17. “Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

  18. I don’t think this guy’s rehabilitated, but he definitely won’t do anything like this again. I suppose that makes me soft on criminals.

  19. I so smell a new GOP talking head on the horizon. I wonder if he has filled out his application for pundit at Fox yet.

  20. Funny. I always thought that was a sanctioned assassination by a branch of guvmint to be named later. Blaming it on Farrakhan was just too old school for belief.

  21. In my opinion jail is a place for rehabilitation. 40 years seem to be enough. 40 years is a long time. For example in Germany it’s in average “only” 25 years for murder (because a sentence for live is in reality around 25 years of jailtime there) and I wouldn’t call that country dangerous to live in (rather the opposite). I do not believe that a country should seek revenge for a misdeed, but put effort into the rehabilitation, education and re-socialisation of the offender, because if the country seeks revenge for a misdeed it just doubles the amount of badness in the world. There should not be any difference in jail-time depending on neither the skin-color of the victim nor of the offender. It’s also not important who got murdered, if that person was important or unimportant to others, because every man is the same. That’s my opinion.

  22. This guy was a kid when he did this. If it’s true and he’s kept his nose clean, then perhaps it’s not so absurd to think that he’s spent some of those 40 years repenting, learning and moving on.

    We all make mistakes, some bigger than others. Some can’t be forgiven, but most should.

    And given how we now view Malcolm X – it’s a shame he didn’t survive to continue his fight, but I don’t know if you’ll find many who can say his death was in vain.

    That’s no justification, but it’s impossible to reconcile what ifs and should’ve’s – what is, now is, and we can only judge the situation on the merits of what we now know.

    And I’d hope one thing we all might’ve gained a greater insight into is forgiveness, and the power for people to change.

  23. Is he likely to re- offend? is he a danger to society? These are things parole boards consider.

    And as for Mr. Aziz being named head of the congregation that Malcolm X held… This is a man who claimed innocence, whose co- defendants claimed his innocence…. maybe Farrakhan believed his innocence as well?

  24. Xeni, I would love to know more of your feelings on this. Your wording seems to imply that he deserves a longer sentence. I’m not sure I agree, but would like to read more of your opinion here. Thanks.

  25. Wow kids, I don’t think anywhere Xeni actually stated her opinion on the matter. She’s provided a quote then stated the facts.

    She has however made for interesting discussion which is really what Xeni does best.

  26. By no means should he be released. I guess if he would have smiled at a white women back then. It would have read something like 3 life sentence. With no parole.

  27. Malcom X was killed in ’65 by three black men. The other two shooters were released in ’85 and ’87. Hayer did shoot him point blank with a sawed off shotgun. So he got an extra 20 years on work release.
    Malcom must have pissed some people off.

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