More than a year and a half after Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down while walking to work, an Alameda County grand jury indicted the leader of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery on Wednesday on charges that he ordered the journalist killed.
The indictment accuses Yusuf Bey IV, 23, of murder for allegedly telling two followers to kill the 57-year-old Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007. The grand jury that returned the indictment heard two days of testimony last week from the alleged gunman, Devaughndre Broussard, 21, who until Wednesday was the only person charged in Bailey's death.
Broussard, a former handyman at the bakery, told prosecutors in March that Bey wanted Bailey dead because he believed the journalist was working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery's internal problems. He said Bey also blamed Bailey for the 2003 death of his father, Yusuf Bey, who founded the black self-empowerment group in 1968 and led it until dying of cancer.
In addition to Bailey's slaying, the indictment accuses Bey of murder for allegedly ordering the killings of two men in July 2007, 36-year-old Michael Wills and Odell Roberson Jr., 31. He is also accused in a December 2006 incident in which someone shot into an unoccupied car in Oakland.
The charges carry the special circumstance of multiple murder, meaning that Bey, if convicted, could be sentenced to death. Prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the death penalty.
Another bakery figure, Antoine Mackey, 23, was also indicted on murder charges in the shootings of Bailey, Roberson and Wills.
He and Bey are scheduled to appear in Alameda County Superior Court on May 6. Both are already in custody, Bey on unrelated kidnapping and torture charges, and Mackey for a burglary conviction. Earlier Wednesday, Bey was ordered to stand trial on six counts stemming from the kidnapping case.
Bey's attorney in that case, Anne Beles, said of the murder indictment, "All charges will be vigorously fought. All he wants is a fair and impartial jury in whatever case he is charged in."
In exchange for his testimony before the grand jury April 20 and 21, Broussard struck a deal with prosecutors under which he will plead guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the killings of Bailey and Roberson. Prosecutors will recommend that he be sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
Prosecutor Chris Lamiero, asked if he was pleased with the grand jury's actions, said, "We are always satisfied when we are doing our jobs."
Broussard was arrested the day after Bailey's death when Oakland police caught him throwing the shotgun used to kill Bailey out of a window during a raid on the bakery.
He confessed after talking alone in a police interview room with Bey. Broussard later said the bakery leader had promised him that he would be taken care of financially if he took sole responsibility.
Broussard soon recanted, and last month he told prosecutors that Bey had been closely involved in the planning of Bailey's slaying, even going over details with Broussard and Mackey of how the journalist could be killed as the three talked outside Bailey's apartment.
Broussard said Bey had told him to fire enough rounds at Bailey to make sure "it ain't no coming back." The journalist was hit with three shotgun blasts as he walked to work at 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland.
Two other killings
In addition to the Bailey slaying, Broussard said Bey had ordered him to kill Roberson, a transient whose nephew was convicted of killing Bey's brother, one-time bakery leader Antar Bey, in a botched robbery in October 2005.
Broussard said he had not killed Wills but that Bey had boasted after the slaying of "getting" a white "devil." The indictment accuses Mackey of pulling the trigger; like Bey, he could face the death penalty if convicted.
Broussard was also indicted for allegedly murdering Bailey and Roberson with the special circumstances enhancement, but his plea deal means he will probably be convicted only of the manslaughter counts.
LeRue Grim, Broussard's lawyer, said Bey had hired his client to kill Bailey and then told police that Broussard had committed the crime on his own.
"That's really hard on loyalty," Grim said.
Bakery's rise and fall
Your Black Muslim Bakery was perhaps the Bay Area's most visible Black Muslim institution in its prime, but even before Broussard turned against Bey, the Oakland group had been racked by turmoil and finally collapsed.
The elder Bey, founder of the bakery, took the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and turned them into largely secular mantras for his bakery, which was incorporated as a for-profit business in 1968.
Bey won contracts to sell his preservative-free pies and goods at many venues. But the core of the business was showing that the most underprivileged, disenfranchised black people "could be independent and successful people if given the chance," his oldest biological son, Yusuf Bey Jr., said in a 2007 interview.
The elder Bey, however, was tarnished by accusations near the end of his life that he had impregnated girls who were associated with the bakery. After his death, Yusuf Bey IV emerged from a series of power struggles to take control.
Bey IV was soon accused of leading a gang of bakery followers in trashing two Oakland stores for selling liquor. He also took the bakery into bankruptcy proceedings, then tried to back out. Even with its damaged reputation, the bakery was able to secure endorsement letters in the bankruptcy case from Mayor Ron Dellums and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, although she later withdrew hers.
Spotlight on police
The investigation into Bailey's killing also had ramifications for the Oakland Police Department. The lead investigator, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, was associated with Bey IV before Bailey's death, and the bakery leader boasted to two acquaintances in a secretly recorded conversation at a police station after the killing that his ties to Longmire explained why "they didn't pin the murder on me."
Among the questions raised about the police investigation was why prosecutors were not promptly informed of an interview with an acquaintance of Bey's, who told police the day after Bailey was killed that the bakery leader had gloated, "That will teach 'em to f- with me," when he heard the news.
The acquaintance's account was lost in police files for more than a year after the slaying, and Longmire made no mention of it in his case notes. Longmire also was faulted for failing to report calls he received from the jailed Bey last summer in which both men vouched for their friendship.
Earlier this month, Longmire was accused of misconduct for alleged insubordination and compromising a police probe, accusations that could get him suspended or fired. He is on paid administrative leave, and his attorney has said he hasn't seen "a lick of documentation" to support the disciplinary charges.
Two superiors, Lt. Ersie Joyner and Deputy Chief Jeff Loman, were accused of misconduct for allegedly failing to properly oversee the Bailey investigation.