(CNN) — Thomas Hagan, the only man who admitted his role in the 1965 assassination of iconic black leader Malcolm X, was paroled Tuesday.
Hagan was freed a day earlier than planned because his paperwork was processed more quickly than anticipated, according to the New York State Department of Correctional Services.
Hagan, 69, walked out of the minimum-security Lincoln Correctional Facility at 11 a.m. The facility is located at the intersection of West 110th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.
Hagan had been in a full-time work-release program since March 1992 that allowed him to live at home with his family in Brooklyn five days a week while reporting to the prison just two days.
Last month, Hagan pleaded his case for freedom: To return to his family, to become a substance abuse counselor and to make his mark on what time he has left in this world.
He was dressed in prison greens as he addressed the parole board. He had been before that body 14 other times since 1984. Each time, he was rejected.
Hagan was no ordinary prisoner. He is the only man to have confessed in the killing of Malcolm X, who was gunned down while giving a speech in New York’s Audubon Ballroom in 1965.
“I have deep regrets about my participation in that,” he told the parole board on March 3, according to a transcript. “I don’t think it
should ever have happened.”
Hagan had been sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment after being found guilty at trial with two others in 1966.
To win his release, Hagan was required to seek, obtain and maintain a job, support his children and abide by a curfew. He must continue to meet those conditions while free. He told the parole board he’s worked the same job for the past seven years. He told the New York Post in 2008 he was working at a fast-food restaurant.