Two men accused of killing Malcolm X in 1965 will soon be freed after nearly five decades behind bars for a crime they claim they did not commit.
William R. Robinson and Sidney W. Farrington will walk free after their conviction was overturned by a federal judge in Brooklyn on Wednesday, according to reports.
Robinson, now 72, was a Columbia University student when he accused Farrington, then 18, of getting into a heated argument that led to his murder, according to the New York Daily News.
Both men, who were arrested on April 18, 1965, were convicted six months later and sentenced to death. Robinson was convicted on the dubious testimony of two black men, while Farrington’s conviction relied on the testimony of a white police officer, according to reports.
The Supreme Court eventually tossed the case for the facts it ignored — namely, only one eyewitness who identified the men.
The convicted men said at the time they had been struggling in “unrestive circumstances” in Brooklyn when Farrington argued with a woman. During the argument, a third man pulled a gun, which then-presidential candidate Malcolm X fired at before being killed.
While police arrested three black men in connection with Malcolm X’s murder, they managed to nail just one white cop for the case.
The Justice Department said there was no evidence to tie the two men to the murder, reports say. Robinson and Farrington were awarded $1.1 million in compensation by the state and federal governments.
The Washington Post contributed to this report.