Hayer affidavits

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"Leon David" redirects here. For the French writer and painter known as Léon David, see Max Jacob.

The Hayer affidavits are two affidavits made by Talmadge Hayer—also known by the name Thomas Hagan—one of the convicted assassins of Malcolm X. The statements give Hayer's account of his involvement in the planning and execution of the murder.

Three men were convicted of the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X: Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson.

At first, Hayer denied any involvement, but during the trial, he confessed to having fired shots at Malcolm X. He testified that Butler and Johnson were not present and were not involved in the shooting, but he declined to name the men who had joined him in the attack.[1] Nonetheless, all three men were convicted.[2]

In 1977 and 1978, Hayer submitted two affidavits re-asserting his claim that Butler and Johnson were not involved in the assassination. In his affidavits Hayer named four men, all members of the Nation of Islam's Newark, New Jersey, Temple Number 25, as having participated with him in the crime. Hayer asserted that a man he knew as "Wilbur" or "Kinly", later identified as Wilbur McKinley, shouted and threw a smoke bomb to create a diversion. Hayer said that a man named "Willie", later identified as William Bradley, had a shotgun and was the first to fire on Malcolm X after the diversion. Hayer asserted that he and a man named "Lee" or "Leon", later identified as Leon Davis, both armed with pistols, fired on Malcolm X immediately after the shotgun blast. Hayer also said that a man named "Ben", later identified as Benjamin Thomas, was involved in the conspiracy.[3][4] Hayer's statements failed to convince authorities to reopen their investigation of the murder.[5]

Butler, now known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985. He became the head of the Nation of Islam's Harlem mosque in New York in 1998. He continues to maintain his innocence.[6] Johnson, who changed his name to Khalil Islam, was released from prison in 1987. During his time in prison, he rejected the teachings of the Nation of Islam and converted to Sunni Islam. He maintained his innocence until his death in August 2009.[7][8] Hayer, now known as Mujahid Halim,[9] also disavowed the Nation of Islam's ideology, though he remains a practicing Muslim.[10] Hayer has expressed regret for his role in the assassination.[10][11] He was paroled in 2010.[11]

Benjamin Thomas was killed in 1986. As of 1989, Leon Davis was reported to be living in Paterson, New Jersey. Little is known about Wilbur McKinley, and one researcher has concluded that he is dead.[12][13]

William Bradley spent decades as a criminal. He was charged in connection with a 1968 bank robbery in Livingston, New Jersey, but in the end charges against him were dismissed. During the 1980s, Bradley was convicted of several charges related to robbery, aggravated assault, and drug possession.[14] As of 2011, he was living in Newark, New Jersey, under the name Al-Mustafa Shabazz.[15][16][17] Through his attorney, he denied having participated in any way in the assassination of Malcolm X.[17]


  1. ^ Kondo, Zak A. (1993). Conspiracys: Unravelling the Assassination of Malcolm X. Washington, D.C.: Nubia Press. p. 100. OCLC 28837295. 
  2. ^ Rickford, Russell J. (2003). Betty Shabazz: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Faith Before and After Malcolm X. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks. p. 289. ISBN 1-4022-0171-0. 
  3. ^ Bush, Roderick (1999). We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century. New York: New York University Press. p. 179. ISBN 0-8147-1317-3. 
  4. ^ Friedly, Michael (1992). Malcolm X: The Assassination. New York: One World. pp. 112–129. ISBN 978-0-345-40010-9. 
  5. ^ Gardell, Mattias (1996). In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-8223-1845-8. 
  6. ^ "Malcolm X Killer Heads Mosque". BBC News. March 31, 1998. Retrieved August 1, 2008. 
  7. ^ Jacobson, Mark (October 1, 2007). "The Man Who Didn't Shoot Malcolm X". New York. Retrieved August 1, 2008. 
  8. ^ Marable, Manning (2011). Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. New York: Viking. p. 474. ISBN 978-0-670-02220-5. 
  9. ^ Rickford, p. 489
  10. ^ a b Fanelli, James (May 18, 2008). "Quiet Life of an 'X'-Assassin". New York Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Drash, Wayne (April 27, 2010). "Malcolm X Killer Freed After 44 Years". CNN. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  12. ^ Kondo, pp. 203–205.
  13. ^ Marable, p. 475.
  14. ^ Marable, pp. 475–476.
  15. ^ Dewan, Shaila (July 22, 2011). "Biography Revives Push to Reopen Malcolm X Case". The New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ Nutt, Amy Ellis; Cater, Barry (April 3, 2011). "In New Book, Historian Alleges Newark Man Killed Malcolm X". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Thompson, Krissah (April 3, 2011). "Manning Marable Book Revisits Assassination of Malcolm X, Names Alleged Triggerman". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 

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