OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A judge gave a tongue lashing Friday to a key witness in the triple-murder trial of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV who failed to appear in court as scheduled earlier this week.
“I’m very impatient, and I don’t want to wait for witnesses who don’t appear,” Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon told Saleem Bey, 47.
Reardon said the case of Yusuf Bey IV and co-defendant Antoine Mackey, both 25, who are charged in connection with the murders of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007, “has been going on for a while, and a lot of effort has been put into this matter.”
“We have a very tight time frame for this,” he said.
Saleem Bey, who also is known as Darren Keith Wright, was arrested on a no-bail bench warrant in Oakland on Thursday because he failed to appear in court on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum said Bey failed to appear because of a misunderstanding.
She said Bey had read news stories reporting that the trial of Yusuf Bey IV and Mackey was postponed on Tuesday for several days because an alternate juror was sick, so he assumed he wouldn’t have to show up in court on Wednesday.
She said she also accepted Bey’s claim that he hadn’t received voicemail messages she left on his home phone.
Krum asked that Bey be released from custody on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on April 11.
Reardon agreed to release Bey from custody, but he warned Bey that if he missed another court appearance, he would keep him in the county jail until he testifies.
“This will only happen once,” Reardon said.
Saleem Bey is not related by blood to Yusuf Bey IV or his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, but he became a “spiritually adopted” son of the elder Bey after working at the bakery for several years. Saleem Bey is married to a daughter of the elder Bey; the woman is a half-sister of Yusuf Bey IV.
Saleem Bey told prosecutors after Bailey was killed that he was the source who provided information about the bakery’s financial problems to Bailey.
Krum told jurors in her opening statement of the trial of Bey and Mackey last week that Yusuf Bey IV ordered that Bailey be killed on Aug. 2, 2007, to prevent him from writing a story about the bakery’s financial problems. The bakery went bankrupt and closed later that year.
According to a brief that Krum filed last year, Saleem Bey led a group of “disgruntled” Bey family members who were unhappy with the way that Yusuf Bey IV was running the bakery business.
Krum said that faction claimed that Yusuf Bey and his brother Antar Bey “assumed control over the bakery by means of fraud and violence.”
Testimony in the trial of Yusuf Bey IV and Mackey was scheduled to resume on Monday with more questioning of bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 23, who has said he killed Bailey and another victim because Yusuf Bey IV ordered him to do so.
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