Talmadge Hayer Biography, Talmadge Hayer Wiki
Talmadge Hayer (Thomas Hagan) was convicted of assassinating civil rights leader Malcolm X. The 1965 assassination is being reexamined in the new Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X?
The documentary raises serious questions about the murder investigation, especially involving two men who were convicted as being Hayer’s co-actors but maintained their innocence.
Where is Talmadge Hayer AKA Thomas Hagan today? Hayer is now a free man. Hayer, the only man who admitted to the murder, was released from prison in 2010, according to CNN. At the time of the murder, Hagan went by the name Talmadge X Hayer. As the documentary shows, he was shot in the leg during the assassination attempt and captured at the scene. He’s also used the name Mujahid Abdul Halim. Over the years, he has implicated four other men as his accomplices, but they’ve never been charged or arrested for the crime.
Who is Talmadge Hayer?
According to the ABAJournal, Hayer has long maintained that the other two men convicted in the assassination were innocent. They are Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Kahlil Islam, otherwise known as Thomas 15X Johnson and Norman 3X Butler.
Hayer filed an affidavit in 1978 saying that four other members of a New Jersey Nation of Islam mosque helped him commit the assassination but the case was not reopened, according to ABAJournal. However, in the wake of the Netflix documentary, the Manhattan DA’s office is doing a preliminary review of the convictions in the case.
He also partially named the four men in what are called the “Hayer Affidavits.” The book Malcolm X, African American Revolutionary, claims that Hayer said he didn’t know who gave the ultimate order. You can read a Hayer Affidavit here.
The documentary builds on the Hayer affidavit; for years, researchers have accused William Bradley (now called Al-Mustafa Shabazz) of being the suspect who fired a shotgun at the scene, killing Malcolm X. In 2015, the New York Post called Bradley a then “76-year-old ex-con” who “lives in a gated two-story home in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Newark.” In 2010, he appeared in a campaign video for Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
“It’s an accusation,” he said to the Post. “They never spoke to me. They just accused me of something I didn’t do.”
In 2015, the Post described Hayer/Hagan as “now living a quiet life in Brooklyn.” An old LinkedIn page says that from 1992 through 2003 he “assisted the professional staff of a public social service agency dealing with the homeless population.”
Talmadge Hayer Assassination of Malcolm X
When Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, New York, Hagan was shot in the leg by one of Malcolm X’s bodyguards while attempting to flee from the building. Hampered by his bullet wound, Hagan was grabbed by several members of the crowd who witnessed the shooting and physically beaten before policemen arrived and arrested Hagan at the scene. He later confessed to the crime but claimed that Thomas Johnson (Khalil Islam) and Norman Butler (Muhammad Abd Al-Aziz), two suspects who were arrested at a later point in time, were not involved in the assassination.
Hagan stated in a 1977 affidavit that he had planned the assassination with four others (Johnson and Butler not being among them) to seek revenge for Malcolm X’s public criticism of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. He said that one of his accomplices distracted Malcolm X’s bodyguards by starting an argument about having been pickpocketed. When the bodyguards moved toward the diversion and away from Malcolm X, a man with a shotgun stepped up to him and shot him in the chest. After that, Hagan himself and another of his accomplices shot several rounds at Malcolm X with semi-automatic handguns.
Talmadge Hayer Later life
Hagan, Butler, and Johnson all received 20-years-to-life sentences in 1966. During his 45 years in jail, Hagan earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees; he filed 16 times for parole but was denied each time. Butler was paroled in 1985 and Johnson in 1987. From 1988, Hagan was in a work-release program, which allowed him to seek work outside the prison and required him to spend only two days a week in a minimum-security facility in Manhattan. The rest of the week, he was allowed to stay with his wife and children. Among other places, he worked at the Crown Heights Youth Collective, as a counselor at a homeless shelter on Wards Island, and in a fast-food restaurant. Hagan was granted parole in March 2010 and was released from prison at the end of April. He is still a practicing Muslim but has left the Nation of Islam, no longer agreeing with their ideology, and has expressed “regrets and sorrow” for having shot Malcolm X.
Talmadge Hayer Portrayal in the arts
Hagan was portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito in the 1992 American biographical film Malcolm X.