A half-brother of Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV testified today that he was told by associates that the bakery would get $30,000 in cash by kidnapping and robbing two women in East Oakland three years ago.
Joshua Bey, 21, said he participated in the incident at the direction of Yusuf Bey IV, who told him that the Oakland-based bakery, which was founded in 1968, was in serious trouble and was in danger of being shut down if it didn’t come up with some money.
Dressed in a red and white jail jumpsuit, wearing glasses and sporting short hair, Joshua Bey was on the witness stand for a second day in the trial of Richard Lewis, a 25-year-old former football star at Mission High School in San Francisco who’s accused of being one of several Your Black Muslim Bakery members who allegedly kidnapped and tortured two women in Oakland on May 17, 2007.
Lewis is the first bakery member to stand trial in the case.
Yusuf Bey IV and Tamon Halfin, another member, are slated to be prosecuted together at a later date.
Lewis, Bey IV and Halfin are charged with kidnapping and torture and face life in prison if they’re convicted.
Joshua Bey and another half-brother, Yusuf Bey V, were also charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping and torture case, but they both pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony against Lewis, Halfin and Bey IV.
One of the alleged victims testified last week that that the men who abducted her and her mother after they left a bingo parlor in East Oakland about 10:30 p.m. on May 17, 2007, brutally beat her and threatened her, and she thought they would kill her.
But Joshua Bey said today, “I didn’t think they were going to kill her. I still don’t feel she was going to die.”
Asked by prosecutor Chris Lamiero how he felt about participating in the crime, Bey said, “It happened so fast I just did it. I wasn’t really thinking about it.”
Bey said he didn’t want to say no to Yusuf Bey IV because, “I didn’t want it to be my fault if it didn’t go the right way.”
When Lamiero asked what he meant, Bey paused for a long time and said, “If it went wrong as in not getting the money.”
Bey said Lewis, Yusuf Bey IV, Yusuf Bey V and Halfin all joined him in participating in the crime, which involved using a decommissioned police cruiser to stop the two women on the freeway and then taking them to an East Oakland home, where one of the women was beaten while being asked where a drug dealer acquaintance kept his money.
Joshua Bey said Yusuf Bey IV told him before the incident that the decommissioned police cruiser, which had been bought at an auction in Antioch, “looked like an undercover police car.”
Bey said Yusuf Bey IV said, “We could take advantage of it to benefit the bakery.”
Bey said his half-brother told him, “We could run up on people on the street and act like the police and take their money.”
Before Bey IV stands trial in the kidnapping and torture trial, he is first scheduled to stand trial in May on three counts of murder for allegedly ordering the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in July and August of 2007.
The bakery went bankrupt and closed its doors in late 2007.