Former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV plotted the murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey and other crimes in 2007 in a desperate attempt to save the bakery from bankruptcy, a prosecutor alleges in a recent court filing.
Bey, 24, and former bakery employee Antoine Mackey, also 24, will stand trial early next year on three counts of murder for the deaths of Bailey, who was the editor of the Oakland Post, Odell Robertson Jr. and Michael Wills in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
In a pretrial motion that will be debated in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Dec. 16, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum said she wants to be allowed to introduce evidence of a series of other alleged “bad acts” by Bey to help her explain to jurors why Bey would want to have the three men killed.
Krum said, “The People’s all-encompassing theory is that all three crimes were committed for the overall benefit of Your Black Muslim Bakery as part of a continuing series of events that demonstrated to the community the power of the bakery and Yusuf Bey IV as its leader or were committed in a more literal way to save the bakery from bakery liquidation.”
Krum said the bakery was founded by Bey’s father, Yusuf Bey, in 1968 but he died of cancer in October 2003 while waiting to stand trial on charges of child molestation and forcible rape, oral copulation and sodomy.
The prosecutor alleged that Bey IV had two motives for having Bailey killed: “IV despised Bailey form writing what IV perceived to be scandalous or libelous stories about IV’s father molesting and raping children and he found out that Bailey was writing a negative story about IV and the impending ruin of his business and sought to keep the story from making the paper, lest it ruin his chances to avoid Chapter 7 liquidation in the bankruptcy court.”
Bey IV became the bakery’s leader in October 2005 after two previous leaders who had succeeded his father were killed, Krum said.
Waajid Aljawwaad Bey was the elder Bey’s spiritually-adopted son and was handpicked by the elder Bey to be his successor, but he disappeared in late February 2004 and his bound, decomposed body was discovered in a shallow grave in the Oakland hills five months later. His homicide remains unsolved.
Waajid was succeeded by Antar Bey, one of the elder Bey’s biological sons, but he was shot to death at the age of 23 during a carjacking at the Union 76 gas station at 55th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on Oct. 25, 2005.
In 2007, Alfonza Phillips was convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances for Antar Bey’s death and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors said Antar Bey’s death wasn’t connected to the bakery. Instead, they said Phillips killed Bey because he wanted to steal his $75,000 BMW 745 sedan.
Krum said Bey IV ordered the murder of Robertson, 31, on July 8, 2007, out of “revenge” because Robertson was Phillips’ uncle.
She said By IV “believed in and preached ‘eye for an eye’ revenge and sought to kill Phillips’ father in retaliation” but settled on killing Robertson when he couldn’t locate the father.
Devaughndre Broussard pleaded guilty on May 7, 2009, to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting both Bailey, 57, who was killed while walking to work in downtown Oakland the morning of Aug. 2, 2007, and Roberson.
Broussard, who is slated to get a 25-year state prison term after he testifies against Bey and Mackey, said Bey ordered him to kill both Bailey and Roberson. He said Mackey helped lure Roberson to his death and drove the car that was used in the killing of Bailey.
Broussard also said Mackey killed 36-year-old Michael Wills on July 12, 2007.
Krum said “the motive for IV having Wills killed was racial animus.”
Bey is black and Wills was white.
Krum said Bey and Mackey were driving down the street while talking about the Zebra killers, whom she said were “a group of black men in the early 1970s who were notorious for committing a series of murders and other violent attacks on white citizens in San Francisco.
She said Bey “considered the Zebra Killers to be giving the white community ‘a taste of their own medicine'” for violence done by whites on blacks, such as lynchings.
Krum said that during the discussion about the Zebra Killers, Bey and Mackey spotted Wills walking down the street and Bey pulled his car over, Mackey got out, chased Wills down and shot and killed him.
Krum said in her motion that she wants to introduce evidence that Bey and several bakery associates kidnapped two women in Oakland in May of 2007 because it shows how bleak the bakery’s financial situation was at the time.
Bakery associate Richard Lewis has been convicted of kidnapping and torture in connection with the incident but Bey and several other associates are still awaiting trial.
Krum alleged that Bey ordered the kidnapping because the women knew drug dealers who had access to cash that he wanted to get for the bakery.
She said, “The fact that IV would go to the lengths of having a woman kidnapped and physically harmed for a few thousand dollars in cash speaks volumes about IV’s degree of desperation to save the crumbling empire his father built.”
Krum said if jurors are told about the kidnapping, “It will be much easier for the jury to grasp IV’s willingness to go one step further with the violence by actually having Bailey killed to keep damaging articles from being written.”
She said, “Without the kidnapping evidence, the jury will be missing an integral step in the ladder leading to IV’s pinnacle moment of depravity.”
Bey, Broussard and several other bakery associates were arrested in a massive raid at the bakery on Aug. 3, 2007, the day after Bailey was killed. The bakery went bankrupt and was closed later that year.
Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, was unavailable for comment on Krum’s motion.
Bey and Mackey will be in court on Tuesday for a status conference about their case.
Jury selection will begin in January.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News