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Chauncey Bailey Killer Shows No Remorse

May 13, 2011

Bob Butler

During his testimony about the murder Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, Devaughndre Broussard sometimes displayed a callous attitude that some in the courtroom found unsettling.

Broussard, who pleaded guilty to killing Bailey and 31-year old Odell Roberson, laughed when describing killing Roberson on July 8, 2007.

His former boss at Your Black Muslim Bakery, Yusuf Bey IV, and former bakery associate Antoine Mackey are charged with three counts of murder and face life in prison with no possibility of parole if convicted. Broussard was given a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony.

The goal of the Maynard Institute initiative on Health and the Media is to help journalists more accurately and fairly write stories about boys and men of color.

In coverage of the trial the media has not called attention to the race of Broussard, the two suspects and two of the three victims. They are all Black. The other victim, Michael Wills, was White and, according to Broussard, was killed because of his skin color.

The media has also not looked at what might have led Broussard to commit such heinous crimes. This is not to excuse or explain away what he did, but to understand why.

Why would Broussard laugh when describing how he took someone’s life? Those watching the trial said he might have been nervous. But looking back on his life one gets the idea that Broussard is like many young people who place so little value on human life. The media needs to explore that.

According to a story published by the Chauncey Bailey Project, of which this reporter is a member, on June 22, 2008 Broussard’s childhood was filled with foster homes because his mother spent time in prison on drug charges. He also stayed with his grandmother, whose house was once raided by police when they suspected her of selling drugs.

Marcus Callaway, his stepfather, said members of Broussard’s extended family were “gangsters” and that influenced him to hang out.

Broussard was “hanging out” in areas that saw a lot of violence: his stepfather’s home in Richmond’s Iron Triangle, the Bayview district and the Western Addition in San Francisco.

“We know that if he comes from a community that’s violent he’s more likely than not to have experienced it,” said Anne Marks, executive director of Youth Alive in Oakland, a non-profit agency dedicated to reducing teen violence.

Even if Broussard was not a victim of violence, being around it makes an impression.

“When you are repeatedly exposed to violence you start to undergo psychological changes,” said Marks. “These things don’t mean that you will become someone who perpetrates violence, it means if the psychological slings and arrows that are thrown at you aren’t dealt with you are more likely to.”

Broussard had some trouble as a juvenile but that file is sealed so details are not available and the judge in the Bailey case ruled they cannot be used by the prosecution to try and explain Broussard’s actions.

His first arrest as an adult came around about three weeks after his 18th birthday — Halloween 2005 — when he and several juveniles assaulted a young man on a Muni bus in San Francisco and stole his wallet, money and iPod.

He spent a year in the county jail and, upon his release, was assigned to probation officer Will Robinson.

He was “likable” and “very cooperative.” Most of Robinson’s probationers were 18 to 25, and “sometimes there’s a general reluctance to accept direction,” he said. “Mr. Broussard was very respectful. I don’t think we had too many episodes of ‘tough love,’ so to say.”

Robinson, who now works as an adult parole agent in San Francisco, said he accepted it when Broussard told him that he went to work at Your Black Muslim Bakery.

“My knowledge of the Black Muslims is that they were actually trying to steer people in the right direction, so it didn’t strike me as odd.”

When told about Broussard’s laughter when describing Roberson’s death Robinson said he was surprised.

“I still find it hard to believe he went from doing minor crimes to this,” he said. “But he was impressionable so it sounds to me like he was brainwashed.”

In doing research for the 2008 story Robinson said “Kids rarely go from a simple, low-level wannabe (gangster) to someone defending the name of the Muslims by stalking and killing someone.”

The exception, he said, is when they have a dispute with an individual or align themselves with gang members.

Broussard was paired with Antoine Mackey, who Robinson described as a hardened, dangerous gang member.

Both men were assigned as Yusuf Bey IV’s private security in June 2007 and they spent a lot of time together.

They were both detained in San Francisco later that month after police received a complaint of shots being fired from a passing black Dodge Charger.

Police stopped the car, owned by Yusuf Bey IV, a few blocks away and took Mackey and Broussard in for questioning. No gun was found and they were released several hours later.

The next month, Broussard testified, he killed Odell Roberson and Mackey killed Wills.

Broussard laughed about killing Roberson.

That bothered people watching the trial in the courtroom and Topher Sanders, reporter for the He is following the case from Jacksonville, Florida.

“He (Broussard) doesn’t seem to show any remorse and even more than that, from reading the stories, he seems to be completely disconnected from reality,” he said.

While the Maynard Institute’s initiative on Health and the Media aims to change the way the media reports on boys and men of color, in this case the media should report on Broussard the same as they did serial killers Juan Corona, Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Ng, all convicted of multiple murders.

The difference, of course, is Dahmer was killed in prison, Ng is on California’s death row and Corona, although serving 25 consecutive life sentences, may one day go free.

Broussard, who pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, could be freed in 2032. He would be 44. That’s nothing to laugh about.

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