After 45 years behind bars, the only man to ever confess his role in Malcolm X's 1965 assassination was released on parole today, CNN reports.
Thomas Hagan, 69, one of three men arrested for shooting the civil right's leader during a speech at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965, walked out Manhattan's Lincoln Correctional Facility a free man this morning.
Of the other two gunmen that assisted Hagan in the murder, both were claimed innocent and were released in the 1980s. Hagan supported their story as well and no other charges since were made.
Hagan —who was 22 at the time of the assassination— admitted that his motivation was soaked in anger over Malcolm X's decision to split from the Nation of Islam and that he "acted out of rage on impulse and loyalty."
Last month, Hagan told his parole board that he was deeply remorseful for his participation in the killing that left Malcolm X dead in front of his family and followers.
"I've had a lot of time, a heck of a lot of time, to think about it... I understand a lot better the dynamics of movements and what can happen inside movements, and conflicts that can come up, but I have deep regrets about my participation in that," he said according to transcripts.
Hagan currently resides in Brooklyn and told the board he plans on using his Sociology degree earned in prison to become a substance abuse counselor. —Tracy Garraud