January 12

This Day in History

Crime

Jan 12, 1995:

Malcolm X's Daughter Arrested

Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, is arrested for conspiring to kill Louis Farrakhan. Shabazz believed that Farrakhan was responsible for the assassination of her father in 1965, and sought to exact revenge through a hired killer. Subsequently, Shabazz admitted her "responsibility," but not her guilt of the charges, and the government accepted a plea bargain.

Michael Fitzpatrick, a high-school classmate of Shabazz, claimed that she called him and asked him to kill Farrakhan. Fitzpatrick said she told him that she wanted to avenge her father's death, and feared for her mother's life because Betty Shabazz was outspoken in her belief that Farrakhan was behind the 1965 shooting. Although Farrakhan was allied with the Nation of Islam leaders who planned Malcolm X's murder, he most likely was not directly involved in the plot.

Unfortunately for Qubilah, Fitzpatrick was already an FBI informant and promptly passed on the information. He also began recording his conversations with Shabazz. She escaped the most serious charges because the tapes seemed to show entrapment on the part of Fitzpatrick and Shabazz seemed to be a tentative and unwilling conspirator. Also, Fitzpatrick was a fairly unsympathetic informant.

Legal and personal troubles continued to plague the Shabazz family in the 1990s. Betty's 12-year-old grandson set the family home in Westchester County, New York, on fire and was convicted of arson. Betty Shabazz was severely burned in the blaze, and later died from her injuries.

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