OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The prosecutor in the case of a former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader accused of masterminding the killing of a prominent Oakland journalist in 2007 told jurors Wednesday the shooting was “textbook” first-degree murder.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum outlined in her closing arguments how Yusuf Bey IV allegedly ordered two associates to ambush then-editor of the Oakland Post Chauncey Bailey because of a story he was writing about the bakery’s pending bankruptcy proceedings.
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Bey allegedly planned the murder, which Krum argued was carried out by shooter Devaughndre Broussard, 23, and getaway driver Antoine Mackey, 25, on in front of the Oakland Post.
Bey and Mackey are on trial for their roles in the deaths of Bailey, who was killed on Aug. 2, 2007, as well as Odell Roberson Jr., 31, and Michael Wills, 36, who were shot earlier that summer.
Broussard confessed to killing Bailey and originally said Bey had nothing to do with it, but he has since agreed to testify against Bey and Mackey in all three deaths in exchange for a shorter prison sentence.
Krum said Bailey’s death was “absolutely” premeditated.
“This was black-letter law for willful and deliberate murder,” she said. “Chauncey Bailey was ambushed.”
She said that while the other killings were less obviously orchestrated, they too should be considered first-degree murder.
Mackey allegedly killed Wills on June 12, 2007, in what Krum argued was a race-related shooting.
She said Bey and Mackey had been driving on San Pablo Avenue and discussing the “Zebra killers,” a group of black men who killed Caucasians in the Bay Area during the 1970s, when they spotted Wills, who was white.
Mackey allegedly hopped out of the car and chased down Wills, who was shot several times in the back. Nine shell casings were found along the path where he died.
“This man as hunted down,” Krum said. “He was chased down this pathway.”
Wills was found with his wallet, cash, credit cards and cell phone, leading investigators to conclude he was not killed in a robbery, Krum said.
Ballistics evidence and Broussard’s testimony linked the shooting to Bey and Mackey, she said.
Krum argued that Bey then ordered a revenge hit on Roberson, who Broussard admitted to shooting to death on July 8, 2007, with Mackey allegedly in attendance.
Roberson’s nephew had killed Bey’s brother in 2005, so Bey targeted members of the family to achieve an “eye for an eye,” Krum said. When Bey tried unsuccessfully to have the shooter’s father killed, he turned to Roberson, she alleged.
Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, said during a break for lunch that Krum’s closing statements had not departed from opening arguments.
“So far we haven’t seen any surprises,” he said.
Bailey’s brother, Errol Cooley, said he considered the case a “slam dunk.”
“I think that justice will be served for sure,” he said. “It’s been a very long trial for the family. It’s just very difficult for the family having to go through this again.”
Members of Bailey’s and Wills’ families teared up and turned their faces away when evidence photos of the victims’ bodies were displayed for jurors.
The families hugged after court let out Wednesday afternoon and consoled one another for their respective losses.
Cooley added that he had been keeping his feelings on the case private, but finally voiced his opinion about the Your Black Muslim Bakery associates.
“I really feel that the bottom line is they’re just a whole bunch of thugs and hoodlums who were trying to intimidate people,” he said.
Krum’s closing arguments will continue Thursday.
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