Two bakery members reach plea deals in liquor store case
By Paul Rosynsky, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Two of four Your Black Muslim Bakery members accused of vandalizing West Oakland liquor stores in 2005 reached plea deals Monday that most likely will result in probation instead of jail time.
Kahil Raheem, 26, and Donald Eugene Cunningham, 73, each pleaded no contest to one felony count of vandalism. In exchange, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office agreed not to pursue hate crime and false imprisonment charges that had also been filed against both men.
Both faced up to 33 years in prison under the charges.
The deals were made for separate reasons, said Matt Wendt, a deputy district attorney handling the case.
Raheem’s deal is dependent on his testimony against bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, 22, and three other bakery members in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case, Wendt said. According to information from an earlier preliminary hearing, prosecutors in that case want Raheem to testify about how he picked up Bey IV near a house in which police say the bakery leader and three other members tortured a woman and held another in May 2007 in hopes of stealing money.
If Raheem follows through on his agreement and testifies against Bey IV and others during a preliminary hearing next week and later, during a jury trial, he will escape prison time for the liquor store vandalism.
In the liquor store case, Raheem, bakery leader Bey IV, and bakery associates Cunningham and Dyamen Namer Williams, 21, were charged with hate crimes, vandalism, false imprisonment and stealing a weapon in connection with the 2005 trashing of two liquor stores in West Oakland. The four defendants were caught on security surveillance cameras destroying the liquor stores with baseball bats.
Cunningham faces 16 months in jail on the vandalism charge when he is sentenced next month, but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman indicated Monday that Cunningham will most likely be placed on probation instead.
Cunningham’s deal was made because of his age and because a jury trial on his charges would have been delayed due to a family illness, Wendt said.
Although attorneys for Bey IV and Williams said Monday that they continue to work on possible plea deals in the vandalism case, Wendt said the case against the two is currently destined for a jury trial.
Contact Paul Rosynsky at email@example.com or 510-208-6455.