Primal Fear

Did Etta 2X Johnson & Theresa 7X Butler LIE to the Grand Jury?

I was rifling through the Manhattan DA case files for the Malcolm X assassination when I chanced upon the March 1965 Grand Jury testimonies of Etta 2X Johnson (wife of Thomas 15X Johnson) and Theresa 7X Butler (wife of Norman 3X Butler) and they make for truly eye-opening reading.

For one thing, the notion that Norman 3X and Thomas 15X had ‘airtight alibis’ for their whereabouts on 21st February 1965 has always been a complete  myth. Both Etta Johnson and Theresa Butler brazenly lied under oath when they claimed that their husbands were at home “all day” (in the case of Thomas 15X) and at home “from 1.00pm onwards” (in the case of Norman 3X):

ETTA 2X JOHNSON (WIFE OF THOMAS 15X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

THERESA 7X BUTLER (WIFE OF NORMAN 3X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

Not only did both women provide utterly non-credible accounts for their husband’s whereabouts during the timeframe in which Malcolm was murdered (3.00pm – 4.00pm) but they made matters worse by offering up alibis in the form of Edward and Muriel Long (for Thomas 15X) and Gloria 11X Wills and Juanita 8X Gibbs (for Norman 3X) even less credible than their own:

EDWARD & MURIEL LONG (DEFENCE WITNESSES FOR THOMAS 15X) MARCH 1965 GRAND JURY TESTIMONY

GLORIA 11X WILLS, CROSS EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3093)

JUANITA 8X GIBBS, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3114)

In addition, the multiple and overlapping eyewitness accounts provided by persons who positively ID’ed Norman 3X and Thomas 15X in the Audubon Ballroom now demand that we cast aside the absurd fiction that these two scoundrels were ‘innocent’ men who were ‘nowhere near’ the venue at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.

As you peruse the 1965 Grand Jury and 1966 murder trial testimonies of both Mrs Johnson and Mrs Butler (to say nothing of the sickening falsehoods spouted on the witness stand by Betty Hayer, the wife of the sole confessed assassin Talmadge Hayer) just ask yourself whether they read like the accounts of women who are desperate to prove their husbands’ innocence by fully and forthrightly accounting for their spouses’ whereabouts at the time of Malcolm’s killing.

Any unbiased reading of their testimony will leave you in little doubt as to its utter lack of credibility. And when combined with the blatant lies that both Norman 3X and Thomas 15X themselves told, under oath, during their 1966 trial you will be left wondering why they weren’t charged with multiple counts of perjury on top of their main crime:  

NORMAN 3X BUTLER, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3244)

THOMAS 15X JOHNSON, DIRECT EXAMINATION (1966 MALCOLM X MURDER TRIAL TRANSCRIPT, PAGE 3516)

These discoveries now demand that we completely throw out decades of received wisdom about this case and face up to the strength of the prosecution’s argument that Norman 3X and Thomas 15X both participated in Malcolm’s brutal assassination and have shamelessly lied about it ever since. For the verdicts in the 1966 Malcolm X murder trial ultimately came down to whether or not the jury, having seen all the evidence and heard all the testimony, believed the accounts of the only two people on Earth who vouched for both men being somewhere other than the Audubon Ballroom at the time of Malcolm’s assassination.

Those two people were Theresa 7X Butler and Etta 2X Johnson, the wives of Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson respectively. Both women, in testifying that their husbands were at home with them at the time of Malcolm’s murder, were as much on trial as his assassins were. In lying under oath about their spouses’ whereabouts at the time of Malcolm’s killing, both Theresa Butler and Etta Johnson implicated themselves as accessories to the crime. And that they acted out of ‘love’ in telling the fables they did affords them no absolution in the murderous deed in which their partners participated.

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Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer based in Manchester who has previously been published in Britain’s Spectator magazine and has launched a petition to secure the declassification of the FBI and CIA files on the Malcolm X assassination. That petition can be found here.