Fifth suspect arrested in women’s abduction
By Harry Harris and Josh Richman, Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — A fifth member of Your Black Muslim Bakery was arrested Wednesday in connection with the May 17 kidnapping and torture of two women, an incident that occurred just 15 days after the suspect was acquitted in a San Francisco slaying.
Richard Lewis, 23, of San Francisco was taken into custody on a probable-cause arrest warrant Wednesday morning at an Oakland courthouse, where he was to appear on an unrelated misdemeanor case involving possession of a bogus driver’s license, authorities said.
Authorities say other defendants’ statements implicated Lewis, also known as Rakeem K. Bey, as having had a role in the May 17 incident, and his DNA can’t be ruled out as being present on a knife used in torturing one of the victims.
Lewis refused to talk to investigators, authorities said. He is scheduled to be formally charged and arraigned today in Alameda County Superior Court. He was being held Wednesday without bail.
A San Francisco Superior Court jury acquitted Lewis on May 2 — 15 days before the Oakland kidnapping and torture incident — of murder, attempted murder and robbery charges in a 2005 shooting in that city’s Sunset District.
Authorities claimed Lewis was the driver and Chad Dias, 22, of Richmond was the triggerman in the March 1, 2005, slaying of Christine Chan, 22, of Daly City. Her boyfriend, George Tang, then 22, of San Francisco also was wounded in the shooting.
Police said Chan and Tang were shot as Tang tried to sell marijuana to Dias. Lewis’ attorney argued his client hadn’t known the attack was going to occur. San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Russ Giuntini said Wednesday that Lewis initially confessed, but the confession was deemed inadmissible at trial by the judge.
Dias was tried in a murder case this summer but the jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared; he’s now awaiting retrial.
In the kidnapping and torture case, Yusuf Bey IV, 21, chief executive officer of the bakery organization, and two other bakery members — Joshua Bey, 20, and Tamon Halfin, 21 — were arrested Aug. 3 after hundreds of police raided the bakery in the 5800 block of San Pablo Avenue and homes associated with bakery members. They were charged with crimes including kidnapping, kidnapping for extortion, kidnapping in commission of a carjacking, torture and false imprisonment.
Yusuf Bey V, 20, was arrested and charged with similar crimes last week. Police said the first three defendants had implicated him, but they waited for DNA test results before taking him into custody.
Lewis, who sources said is extremely close to Bey IV, was detained by police during the bakery raid Aug. 3. Police did not have enough evidence to charge him at the time, but did get a DNA sample from him that later linked him to the knife, authorities said.
The charges stem from an incident in which a mother and daughter were pulled over on Interstate 580 by what they believed was a police car, but were seized at gunpoint by masked men and taken to an Avenal Avenue house associated with the bakery, according to court documents. Authorities say Bey IV, Bey V and Lewis were in that car.At the house, some of the men took the handcuffed daughter inside while another suspect guarded the mother in the car.
A police narrative filed last week said, “Once in the house, Joshua Bey saw (victim 1) was in the house with Bey IV, Bey V and Richard Lewis.”
The daughter was tortured by the suspects, who wanted her to either give them money or call someone they could get money from, police said. Authorities said they believe the knife and other objects were used in the torturing.
The women were freed when a police officer saw the modified car and thought other officers were investigating a crime. When he went to investigate, the suspects fled, and he could hear the daughter’s screams from inside the house.
Police had been seeking Lewis in connection with the kidnapping and torture since the DNA results came back a few weeks ago. Officers were waiting for him to appear in court on the fraudulent driver’s license case Oct. 4, but he did not show up.
Authorities learned he had another court date in the case Wednesday morning at the Wiley Manuel Court House, 661 Washington St. Fugitive Unit Officers John Muschi and Roberto Gutierrez had just walked into the courthouse when they saw Lewis standing in line to go through metal detectors and arrested him.
Authorities said the fraudulent license case resulted from Lewis being stopped outside the bakery earlier this year because he matched the description of a person wanted in another case. He presented a suspected counterfeit driver’s license in another person’s name and was arrested when it was confirmed the license was not his.
Meanwhile, other cases involving bakery members are scheduled to continue today.
Opening statements in the murder case of former bakery leader Antar Bey were postponed Wednesday. Leonard Ulfelder, a public defender representing accused killer Alfonza Phillips, could not attend court because of an illness.
Phillips is accused of killing Bey during a 2005 failed carjacking attempt. Opening statements are scheduled for this morning.
Also today, Devaughndre Broussard, the bakery handyman accused of killing Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, is expected to enter a plea of not guilty in Alameda County Superior Court.