OAKLAND (CBS SF) – After proclaiming his innocence, former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was sentenced Friday to three consecutive terms of life in prison without parole for the murders of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon also sentenced bakery associate Antoine Mackey to two consecutive life terms for the deaths of Bailey and one of the other victims in the case. Bey and Mackey are both 25.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors in her closing argument in the case in June that Bey ordered the murders of the three men because of financial pressure, revenge and racial hatred.
KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:
Krum said Bey ordered the killing of Bailey, 57, to prevent him from writing an article about the bakery’s financial problems.
The bakery was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when Bailey was gunned down near the corner of 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007, and closed its doors later that year.
Krum said Bey was also upset at Bailey for writing articles about the child molestation charges that his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was facing at the time of his death at age 67 in 2003.
The prosecutor said Bey ordered that Odell Roberson Jr., 31, be killed on July 8, 2007, because Roberson was the uncle of the man who was convicted of murdering Bey’s brother, Antar Bey, in 2005.
Krum said Bey also ordered that the third victim, 36-year-old Michael Wills, be killed on July 12, 2007, because he was inspired by the “Zebra Killers,” a group of black men who killed white people in San Francisco in the early 1970s.
Bey and Mackey are black and Wills was white.
The prosecution’s key witness in the case was bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 23, who admitted during the trial that he fatally shot Bailey and Roberson, but said he did so because Bey ordered him to.
Broussard also implicated Mackey in all three murders, saying Mackey killed Wills at Bey’s direction and participated in the fatal shootings of Bailey and Roberson.
Broussard had been charged with two counts of murder, but prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to two counts of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Bey and Mackey.
Broussard could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole, but his plea agreement called for him to receive a 25-year state prison term and he was sentenced two weeks ago.
Bey was convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of all three victims but jurors deadlocked on the murder charge Mackey faced for Roberson’s death, although Mackey was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the other victims. Reardon dismissed that charge Friday at Krum’s request.
Bey and Mackey also were convicted of the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.
Bey didn’t address the court Friday, but his lawyer, Gene Peretti read a statement in which Bey said, “This case has never been about truth and justice and instead has been about perception and politics.”
Bey said, “I’m innocent” but he said he feels bad that the victims were murdered “on my watch” because he headed the bakery.
“I won’t rest until I find out who did it,” Bey said.
He said, “Elements have been trying to destroy the bakery for many years” but he hopes to revive the business some day.
“My physical freedom may be taken away from me for a time but my mind will stay free,” Bey said.
Peretti said after the hearing that he will appeal Bey’s conviction on several grounds, including Reardon’s denial of a defense motion to move the case to another county because of all the publicity it has received locally.
Wills’ mother, Robin Haugen, said, “Although Bey and Mackey were not charged with a hate crime, it certainly was that” because they killed Wills since he was white.
Haugen said her son was a soccer star as a youth and she wishes he’d still had his youthful speed when he tried to run away from Mackey and Bey.
“I wish he could have avoided the bullets,” Haugen said.
Bailey’s former wife, Robin Hardin Bailey, said, “Never in my mind did I think that Chauncey’s life would end because of a story he was working on.”
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