OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The man who confessed to fatally shooting Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007 testified Thursday that the Your Black Muslim Bakery was a military-like organization that would use violence when it was deemed to be necessary.
Shackled and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, Devaughndre Broussard, 23, said the Oakland bakery—which was founded in 1968 but closed its doors in 2007 amidst a myriad of criminal charges—was more than a bakery because it aimed to “serve the black community by trying to uplift them and inform them.”
Broussard is the prosecution’s key witness in the trial of bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and associate Antoine Mackey, both 25.
Bey and Mackey are both charged with three counts of murder for the shooting deaths of Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
Broussard, who was a handyman at the bakery, spent four hours on the witness stand explaining how he came to join the bakery and describing its operations.
Broussard’s testimony didn’t include details about the death of Bailey, or the deaths of Odell Roberson and Michael Wills, who were killed near the bakery in July of 2007.
Broussard will continue his testimony on Monday, when the trial resumes. He is expected to be on the witness stand for up to eight days because he will face an extensive cross-examination by attorneys for Bey and Mackey, who have questioned his credibility.
Broussard first told police that he didn’t have anything to do with the Aug. 2, 2007 shooting death of Bailey, 57, the editor of the Oakland Post, but Broussard later admitted he shot Bailey and said he acted on his own.
He later said the only reason that he shot Bailey was that Bey ordered him to do so because Bey wanted to stop Bailey from publishing an article about the bakery’s financial problems.
On May 7, 2009, Broussard, who initially was charged with murder for Bailey’s death, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting deaths of Bailey and Roberson, 31, who was killed on July 8, 2007.
Prosecutors promised Broussard a 25-year state prison term in exchange for his agreement to testify against Bey and Mackey.
Broussard, who grew up in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood and in Richmond, said he had never heard of Bey or the bakery until his friend Richard Lewis told him about the bakery the day before he was to be released from San Francisco County Jail in the summer of 2006.
Broussard said Lewis told him that Bey, 24, “needed people who would be there who he could depend on.”
According to his attorney, LeRue Grim, Broussard had just served a one-year term for robbing and assaulting a man on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus in 2005.
Lewis, 26, was in jail at the same time as Broussard. On Dec. 10 of last year, Lewis was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his role in the kidnapping and torture of two women in Oakland on May 17, 2007. Bey is also charged in that case but won’t be prosecuted until after his murder trial ends.
Broussard said the bakery was “quasi-militaristic” and at the first meeting he attended, bakery members engaged in exercises that reminded him of drills he had seen in military movies.
Broussard said that after Bey hired him, he did dishes and janitorial work at the bakery but also was called on to do security work.
He said bakery members provided security for a school near its headquarters at 5832 San Pablo Ave. and also patrolled the area to make sure that there wasn’t any drug dealing or prostitution.
Broussard said there were many guns at the bakery and Bey told him that he could use force if someone else was the aggressor in a confrontation.
Broussard said that at Bey’s request he and several other bakery members shot up the car of a man named Cameron Cook near the bakery in December 2006. No one was injured in the incident, but Cook’s car was riddled with bullets, prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors in her opening statement on Monday.
Broussard said he was “lightweight upset” when Bey told him the following day that the reason he ordered that Cook’s car be shot up is that Cook had quarreled with Bey’s second wife, who had had a child with Cook, as well as other bakery associates.
Broussard said he was mad because, “We shot at that car over something that had to do with (Bey’s) personal life,” instead of a bakery business matter, and he had risked being arrested or hurt by participating in the shooting.
He said Bey told him that he ordered the shooting because, “We’ve got to stick up for our brothers and sisters. That’s where unity is.”
In a statement to prosecutors in March 2009, Broussard said Mackey drove him to and from the scene of Bailey’s shooting death.
Broussard also told prosecutors that Bey ordered him to kill Roberson on to avenge the shooting death of his brother, 23-year-old Antar Bey, at a gas station at 55th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on Oct. 25, 2005, because Roberson was the uncle of the man convicted of murdering Antar Bey, Alfonza Phillips.
Broussard said Mackey participated in the crime by helping lure Roberson to his death.
Broussard also said Bey ordered Mackey to shoot and kill Wills, 36, on July 12, 2007.
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