Spotlight On Witness Credibility In Oakland Journalist Murder Trial
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The credibility of the prosecution’s key witness in the trial of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and associate Antoine Mackey on three counts of murder was the main topic in closing arguments Thursday.
Former bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 23, admitted during the trial that he killed journalist Chauncey Bailey and another man, Odell Roberson Jr., in the summer of 2007 but said he did so only because Bey ordered the murders.
He said Bey, 25, wanted to have Bailey killed to prevent the journalist from publishing an article about the bakery’s financial problems.
Broussard said Mackey, 25, was his driver in the fatal shooting of Bailey and gave him the gun that he used to kill Roberson.
Broussard also testified that Bey ordered Mackey to kill the third victim, Michael Wills.
KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:
In a deal with prosecutors, Broussard pleaded guilty on May 7, 2009, to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting both Bailey and Roberson, and was promised a 25-year state prison term in exchange for his testimony against Bey and Mackey.
He could have faced life in prison if he had been convicted of murdering Bailey and Roberson.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors Thursday, “Mr. Broussard is not exactly the person a district attorney wants as their main witness, but I didn’t pick him, Mr. Bey did.”
However, Krum said she believes the evidence in the case supports Broussard’s testimony.
Krum admitted that Broussard got a favorable deal with prosecutors, but she said, “Sometimes you’ve got to make a deal with the demon in order to get the devil.”
But Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, said Broussard isn’t credible because “he’s a stone-cold murderer” who “kills people for sport and almost enjoys it.”
Peretti alleged that Broussard made a deal with prosecutors because “there was political pressure on the district attorney’s office to implicate the bakery” in the fatal shooting of Bailey.
“The district attorney’s office jumped for the bait like a dolphin leaping after a sardine,” he said.
Peretti said Broussard “hit the lottery” when he reached the plea bargain.
Thursday was the second day of closing arguments in the lengthy trial, which began on March 21.
Peretti was to continue his closing argument after the jury’s lunch break.
It’s expected that Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, will give his closing argument later Thursday and Krum will give her rebuttal closing argument on Monday.
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