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Assassination Attempts: Malcolm X Black Civil Rights Leader Part 3

About the assassination of Malcolm X black civil rights leader, biography of the assassins and the trial.

The Victim: MALCOLM X, black civil rights leader.

Reuben Francis, the aforementioned Malcolm X bodyguard who wounded Hayer, also wounded one William Harris, 51, who was struck in the abdomen, and one William Parker, 36, who was shot in the foot. (Neither of these wounded spectators was called as a witness in the slaying trial.) Francis was indicted for shooting Hayer, jumped $10,000 bail, disappeared, and then was rearrested on February 2, 1966, in a New York Assistant District Attorney's office. On February 15, 1966, a spokesman for the District Attorney's office told The Militant, a weekly socialist newspaper, that "Francis had been picked up newspaper, that "Francis had been picked up by the FBI" and was being held on $25,000 bail. On that same date "a spokesman for the FBI denied any knowledge of Francis," according to The Militant. Reuben never testified and his whereabouts is unknown.

Benjamin X, the man who introduced Malcolm X to the Audubon Ballroom audience seconds before the killing, disappeared from Muslim Mosque affairs. "'Only the police know where to find him,' one of his ex-colleagues revealed." So said the October, 1965, issue of Ebony magazine. No evidence is shown that even the counsels for the defense attempted to locate this Benjamin X, an ideal witness.

On February 14, 1965, Malcolm X's home had been bombed, and it was at that time members of his Muslim Mosque took over total control of Malcolm X's security system. Shortly before his death, Malcolm X had told a newsman: "I've never had a bodyguard. Your alertness is your best bodyguard." On the day of his assassination, reports had 6 bodyguards on the stage with Malcolm X. As of October, 1965, 3 of Malcolm X's former lieutenants and members of his bodyguard had vanished. Two of the 3 accused assassins of Malcolm X were Black Muslims and recognizable adversaries of his, yet they were able to pass through the security check that afternoon in the ballroom.

The Alleged Assassins: Talmadge Hayer/aka Thomas Hayer/aka Thomas Hagan, 22, was described by his lawyer as being a "closed-mouthed person." Married and the father of 2, Hayer consistently denied being a member of the Black Muslims when faced with the questionable testimony of 2 witnesses charging him as such. Hayer's brother-in-law, stepsister, and brother all testified that he was not a member of the religious sect. The prosecution was unable to prove that Hayer was or had ever been a member of the Black Muslims.

On January 21, 1966, the trial began, and on February 23, 1966, Hayer testified on his own behalf. On February 28, Hayer confessed to the assassination of Malcolm X, testifying that the other 2 defendants had nothing to do with the murder. Hayer and his 3 accomplices, whom he did not name, had been hired to carry out the assassination. He refused to say how much money he had been offered. He said that the man who hired him was not a Muslim either.

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