Not-guilty plea in Oakland bakery kidnapping case
By Paul T. Rosynsky, Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Tamon Halfin, one of three Your Black Muslim Bakery members suspected in the kidnapping and torturing of two women in East Oakland last May, pled not guilty Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court. Halfin’s not-guilty plea covers both the kidnapping and torture case and a real estate fraud case that was charged against him late last month.
Sporting a yellow Alameda County Jail jumpsuit, Halfin stood silent as his lawyer Michael Berger announced the not guilty plea.
At times, Halfin looked into the crowd and smiled at a row of Bey family members who sat in the audience.
Meanwhile, bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and his brother Joshua Bey also appeared in court, but had their hearings to set a date for a preliminary trial postponed.
Police accuse all three men of using a fake police cruiser to capture two women they thought had money.
They are accused of then driving the women to a house in East Oakland and torturing one until a police officer on routine patrol saw the fake cruiser and investigated.
Halfin and Bey IV are also each charged with more than 20 criminal counts in relation to real estate fraud in two separate schemes, in which they used fake driver’s licenses and stole identities to secure loans to purchase houses in East Oakland.
According to court documents, Halfin used a fake name to secure four loans that were used to purchase homes at 7601 Lockwood St. and 9217 Sunnyside St. in Oakland.
Using the name Jason Peterson, Halfin secured more than $1 million from BNC Mortgage and Long Beach Mortgage between October 2005 and December 2005, according to the documents.
In both cases, Halfin used a fake driver’s license and in one instance forged a Bank of America bank statement and stole the identity and signature of another person to secure the loan, according to the documents.
The real estate scheme Halfin is accused of is similar to one Bey IV has been charged with in the purchase of an Oakland house at 2514 61st Ave. In that case, Bey IV is suspected of stealing an identity and using a fake driver’s license to secure loans for the purchase of a house in Oakland. Bey IV has pleaded not guilty to those charges and to charges of kidnapping and torturing two women in May.
Bey IV also has become a key figure in the confession to police of Devaughndre Broussard, a bakery handyman suspected in the killing of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey.
Broussard’s attorney LeRue Grim said Bey IV told his client to take the fall for the slaying in order to save the bakery.
Oakland police placed Bey IV in the same interview room with Broussard before Broussard told police he killed Bailey because of a story the journalist was working on about the bakery’s financial problems and a Bey family feud.
All three men are due back in court Oct. 16 when a date will be set for their preliminary hearing. Broussard is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.