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Defense calls prosecution case in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial “utter nonsense!”

May 19, 2011

The prosecutor in journalist Chauncey Bailey’s murder case was so intent on blaming the former Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, that it was “like a dolphin leaping for a sardine” when Bailey’s killer offered to testify, according to one of the defense attorneys. CBTrial#1_051911_Oak

Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey are charged with the 2007 murders of Bailey, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills.

Deputy district attorney Melissa Krum said in her closing argument that Bey IV ordered Bailey “taken out” before an article the journalist was writing about the bakery’s financial trouble could be published. Bailey was killed by three shotgun blasts as he walked to work on the morning of August 2, 2007.

Police quickly zeroed on the bakery and raided the building the next day, arresting Devaughndre Broussard, who changed his story several times before agreeing in April 2009 to plead guilty and testify for the prosecution in exchange for a 25-year prison sentence.

Broussard testifed that Bey IV ordered him to kill Bailey and Roberson and that Mackey shot Wills and helped in the other two murders.

But Gene Peretti, Bey’s attorney, said in his closing statement today that the jury should give Broussard no credibility.

“Mr. Broussard is a stone cold murderer who admitted on the stand that he would lie if it would benefit him,” said Peretti. “He offered no regrets, no apologies. He emptied a gun (at Roberson) and went back and finished the job (on Bailey). And this is the person you’re being asked to believe.”

Peretti also denied that Yusuf Bey IV was able to convince his followers to commit crimes for the “greater good” of the bakery, took aim at the prosecution over weapons kept on bakery property, the military-style drilling performed by bakery followers and the members’ numerous scrapes with the law, including convictions for vandalism, possession of illegal weapons, kidnapping and buying cars with fraudulent documents.

Police also confiscated numerous weapons from bakery followers:
–January 9, 2007 Bey IV was arrested for shoplifting at a Walgreen’s. His younger brother, Yusuf Bey V was arrested for carrying a concealed TEC-9 semiautomatic assault pistol.
–June 10, 2007 San Francisco police find an AK-47 assault rifle in a car that a witness testified Bey IV had brought from the bakery to a San Francisco nightclub where bakery members were performing security.
–August 3, 2007 Police raid Your Black Muslim Bakery and find two sawed-off shotguns, including the one used to kill Bailey. Police also found shell casings fired from the same SKS-style assault rifle used to kill Odell Roberson and Michael Wills. The rifle is never found.

Krum said it was all proof that Your Black Muslim Bakery was a criminal enterprise led by Bey IV. She showed numerous videos of Bey IV on the streets of Oakland and said he acted like he was “the king of Oakland, rolling up to the scene like a political dignitary. He was always at the center of his personal security. It was like they were a school of fish,” she said.

Peretti suggested that Bey IV was not the leader of the bakery and may not have known that guns were kept at the bakery but he also allowed they would have been used for personal defense after Bey’s older brother was shot to death in 2005.

“You heard several witnesses say the bakery was more of a collective, a cooperative and that no one was really in charge,” Peretti said. “The military drilling was not meant to intimidate as Ms. Krum would have you believe. We don’t see it much out west but in the South you have ‘stepping.’ The Grambling and Southern University Marching bands. Why is drilling threatening and marching bands are not?” asked Peretti.

Peretti said the gun possession, the shoplifting and the fraud were all “youthful indiscretions perhaps but it’s a big stretch to go to murder.”

Broussard testified that he agreed to cooperate after reading the newspaper and realizing the district attorney wanted to solve the murders of Bailey, Roberson and Wills.

“When he got the proffer statement from (the D-A’s office) he hit the lottery,” said Peretti. “Then you have the district attorneys office jumping for the bait like a dolphin leaping for a sardine.”

Krum said Broussard was not the person that the D-A wanted as their main witness.

“But I didn’t pick him, Mr. Bey did,” she said. “Everything he said is backed up by the evidence. He did get a good deal: 25 years. But sometimes you have to make a deal with the demon to get the devil.”

Krum will offer her rebuttal to the defense closing arguments on Monday after which the judge will read lengthy instructions for the jury.

The case, which began March 21 and featured more than 60 witnesses and 175 exhibits, could go to the jury for deliberations Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

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