A son of Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey told jurors today that the bakery had serious financial problems at the time that bakery members allegedly kidnapped and tortured two women three years ago in a desperate attempt to get money.
Joshua Bey, 21, said he’s one of 43 children of Yusuf Bey, who founded the Oakland bakery in 1968 and died in 2003, and testified his older brother Antar Bey had taken out a $600,000 loan before he was murdered at an Oakland gas station on Oct. 25, 2005.
Antar Bey took over the bakery after Yusuf Bey died. In 2007, Alfonza Phillips was convicted of murdering Antar Bey in what police and prosecutors said was a botched attempt to carjack Bey’s BMW.
Joshua Bey said his half-brother, Yusuf Bey IV, 24, who took over the bakery after Antar Bey was killed, told him in early 2007 that the bakery had to pay the loan back at a rate of about $30,000 a month or it would have to close down.
The bakery went bankrupt in late 2007 and the property was sold to a new owner.
Dressed in a red and white jail jumpsuit, Joshua Bey spent about an hour on the witness stand 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.
But 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.
In his opening statement in Lewis’s trial last week, prosecutor Lamiero told jurors that the kidnapping was an attempt by Bey IV to get money to help pay off the bakery’s debts. He said Bey IV thought the women would know where a drug dealer kept his money.
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.
Joshua Bey testified that he had been attending high school in Florida, where he lived with his mother, but he came back to Oakland because both Antar Bey and Yusuf Bey IV told him that they needed his help at the bakery.
Bey said his mother didn’t want him to go back to Oakland because “she didn’t like what was going on around here” and “she was afraid I would go to jail because Yusuf IV would get me in trouble.”
Bey will return to the witness stand on Monday, when he’s expected to testify in detail about the alleged kidnapping and torture.