Malikah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, found dead at age 56

Daughter of assassinated civil rights activist Malcolm X, Malikah Shabazz, was found dead in her home Monday at age 56, and police say that the death does not look suspicious, Fox News reports.  

Shabazz was found in her Brooklyn, New York home by her daughter. She is one of six children of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

She reportedly had a lengthy rap sheet, mostly consisting of theft, forgery, and identity theft charges. In 2011, she pleaded guilty to identity theft and was arrested in 2017 for stealing a truck containing seven pit bulls.

Two men exonerated

Shabazz’s death came days after two men who had been convicted of her father’s assassination in 1965 were exonerated of their involvement in his murder. Shabazz was only a toddler when her father was killed.

Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam’s convictions were vacated and their indictments were dismissed on Nov. 20 after FBI documents came to light that showed evidence suggesting the two men’s innocence was ignored during the original investigation and trial.

The two men had always maintained their innocence of the crime, as NPR noted. Both of the men were paroled in the 1980s after completing their prison sentences, but Islam died years ago and will never know he was finally exonerated.

The third man who was arrested for killing Malcolm X, Talmadge Hayer, confessed to the crime, and said that Aziz and Islam were not involved.

Lawyers for Aziz and Islam also said that multiple witnesses testified at the time that the men were nowhere near the scene of the crime when it happened.

Laws changing

At the time of the assassination, there were no laws requiring prosecutors to turn over information favorable to the defense. The advent of these laws led to the discovery of the information that ultimately exonerated the original suspects.

They were represented by Barry Scheck, a lawyer working with the Innocence Project, as well as David Shanies, a high-profile attorney who specializes in wrongful convictions.

Scheck said the exoneration was “decades in coming” because some of the information was known by many, for some time.

The reason FBI investigators and police decided to bury the information and let innocent men spend more than a decade in jail was not known.

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