Antar Bey’s killer gets life sentence in prison
By Paul T. Rosynsky, Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Alfonza Phillips, the man found guilty of killing Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Antar Bey during a failed carjacking in 2005, will spend the rest of his life in prison, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson declared.
During a hearing Friday morning, Rolefson sentenced Phillips to life without the possibility of parole for the death of Bey, in addition to 28 years for discharging a firearm and attempted carjacking.
Phillips, wearing a blue button-down shirt and black slacks, sat still as the sentence was read. He declined to address the court.
A handful of Bey family supporters sat in the gallery and cheered when the judge order Phillips to prison. Meanwhile, family members and Phillips’ supporters burst into loud sobs.
Outside court, the two families had a verbal feud. One of Phillips’ supporters began yelling at the Bey family as they waited for an elevator. The Bey family members yelled back until bailiffs arrived and ushered everyone into separate elevators.
At the sentencing, Antar Bey’s sister, Janah Bey, read a statement prepared by Antar’s mother, Daulet Bey. “(Phillips) introduced me to a magnitude of pain I have never been introduced to,” the statement said. “It was the most trying time of my life.”
The statement also described Antar Bey as a pillar of the black community and said the death caused “life-altering damage” to the family, as well as to “the black community in Oakland.”
“(Antar) believed, in his whole heart, the inherent goodness of the black man,” the statement read. “The rest of the defendant’s life will be spent in a hell of his own making.”
Phillips was found guilty of murder last month after a monthlong trial, which included theories by his defense lawyer that Bey’s murder was a sophisticated assassination, not a simple failed carjacking.
Bey had become leader of the bakery about a year before his murder. At the time, police suspected Bey took control of the bakery empire during an internal coup that resulted in what police said was the assassination of former bakery leader Waajid Aljawaad Bey.
Waajid Aljawaad Bey, formerly Carl Hambrick, changed his name after he joined the bakery several decades ago. Aljawaad disappeared in February 2004 and his body was found months later in a shallow grave in the Oakland hills.
When police began investigating the Antar Bey murder, they first suspected it could be the result of the ongoing feud. However, police began to focus on Phillips after an informant told them that Phillips confessed the murder to him.
Defense Attorney Leonard Ulfelder attempted to use the Bey family history and the bakery’s recent troubles to suggest Antar Bey’s death was more complicated than the story told by Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Colleen McMahon.
However, the jury was not swayed and decided that Phillips killed Bey as he attempted to steal the bakery leader’s 745 BMWi, which was outfitted with $5,000 rims.
McMahon proved her case by showing security camera video of Bey being shot. She also played a tape of a phone call Phillips made from jail to his girlfriend, Althea Foy. During the conversation, Phillips was heard telling Foy to “stay silent.”
Other evidence included a fingerprint found at the scene that matched Phillips’ left middle finger, and a witness who identified Phillips as the killer.
In her statement to the court, Daulet Bey said she fights back urges to hate Phillips and instead will give him pity. She also suggested he ask God for forgiveness.
“My spirit cries out for pity,” the statement said. “Beg God for mercy and forgiveness.”