Decades of doubt: A timeline in the Malcolm X investigation
New York — Manhattan's district attorney announced Wednesday that he would ask a court to vacate the convictions of two of the three men convicted of murdering civil rights leader Malcom X in 1965. Here is a timeline of key dates related to the assassination and the prosecution of the men originally said to be his killers:
— March 9, 1964: Once a leading spokesman for Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, Malcolm X announces that he is breaking with Muhammad’s Black Muslim group and organizing his own.
— Feb. 14, 1965: A firebomb tossed through a window explodes in Malcom X's living room in Queens, hours before dawn. He flees the burning house with his wife and four children.
— Feb. 21, 1965: Three gunmen kill Malcom X as he begins a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. He is 39. Mujahid Abdul Halim, then known as Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagan, 23, is arrested at the scene after being shot in the leg by a bodyguard.
— Feb. 26, 1965: Muhammad Aziz, 26, then known as Norman 3X Butler, is arrested in the assassination.
— March 3, 1965: Kahlil Islam, 30, then known as Thomas 15X Johnson, is arrested in the killing. Both he and Aziz insist they are innocent and offer alibis.
— Feb. 28, 1966: Halim admits during the trial that he took part in the killing but insists that his two co-defendants weren't involved.
— March 11, 1966: Halim, Islam and Aziz are convicted of murder.
— April 14, 1966: All three defendants are sentenced to life in prison.
— December 6, 1977: Halim files an affidavit stating that his two co-defendants are innocent, naming four other co-conspirators.
— June 1985: Aziz is released on parole.
— 1987: Islam is released on parole.
— Nov. 1992: Halim's request for early release from a New York prison is turned down.
— March 1998: Aziz is appointed to help run the Harlem mosque where Malcolm X once preached.
— August 2009: Kahlil Islam dies, 22 years after his release from prison.
— March 3, 2010: The state of New York grants Halim's parole on his 17th try.
— April 27, 2010: Halim is freed.
— April, 2011: Historian Manning Marable publishes “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” a biography that concludes Aziz and Islam are innocent and brings new attention to claims that some of the actual killers were still at large. It wins a Pulitzer Prize.
— Feb. 7, 2020: Netflix begins streaming episodes of “Who Killed Malcolm X?” The six-part documentary examines the assassination and evidence that members of Halim's Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, N.J., were behind the killing. The Manhattan district attorney's office says it will consider reopening the investigation.
— Nov. 17, 2021: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announces that his office will ask a court to exonerate Islam and Aziz. Lawyers for the men say a nearly two-year-long investigation found that authorities withheld evidence favorable to the defense during the trial.