OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Jurors began their deliberations Monday in the trial of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and an associate on three counts of murder for the shooting deaths of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
The seven-woman, five-man panel began its work after its lunch break following a morning session consisting of an hour-long rebuttal closing argument by prosecutor Melissa Krum and 90 minutes of legal instructions by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon.
KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:
In bringing the two-month trial of Bey and Antoine Mackey, both 25, to a close, prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors to reject the comments of Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, who said on Thursday that the prosecution’s theory of the case “makes no sense.”
Krum has argued that 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 killed on Aug. 2, 2007, and closed its doors later that year.
Peretti said the bakery’s financial problems weren’t a secret because they were the subject of court proceedings. It would have been “a financially stupid move for anyone connected to the bakery to kill Bailey” because it would have made it harder for the bakery to get a loan to help it stay in business, he said.
Krum said the bakery’s financial problems had in fact been kept quiet, as Bailey had tried to get information about them from Saleem Bey, another bakery leader, in 2005. He was originally turned down.
Krum said Saleem Bey, who is married to one of Yusuf IV’s older half-sisters, finally decided to cooperate with Bailey in 2007, creating what she described as “a pressure cooker” situation for the bakery.
The prosecutor said that although the average person might realize that killing Bailey wouldn’t solve the bakery’s troubles, “No one has ever accused Mr. Bey of being politically savvy or financially brilliant.”
Krum said Bey was an “inept leader who made lots of real stupid decisions.”
She said the plan to have Bailey killed “shows Mr. Bey’s awful judgment and criminal thinking.”
Bey and Mackey are also charged with the murders of Odell Roberson Jr., 31, who was the uncle of the man convicted of killing Bey’s older brother, as well as Michael Wills, who was allegedly a random victim.
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 return for his testimony against Bey and Mackey.
Broussard could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole, but his plea agreement calls for him to receive a 25-year state prison term.
Peretti and Gary Sirbu, who represents Mackey, said in their closing arguments on Thursday that Bey and Mackey should be found not guilty because Broussard’s testimony is unreliable, as he gave several different versions of what happened when Bailey was killed.
But Krum said that although Broussard is an admitted killer and wasn’t a model witness, she thinks jurors can believe him because other evidence in the case, such as guns and bullets that were recovered by police, corroborates his testimony.
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