Your Black Muslim Bakery members ordered to stand trial in kidnapping, abduction of women
By Thomas Peele The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — A Superior Court judge late Friday afternoon ordered former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and three co-defendants to stand trial on charges of kidnapping and torturing two women last year.
Ruling from the bench at the conclusion of a four-hour hearing, Judge Eric Labowitz said he found sufficient evidence that Bey IV, his half-brother, Yusuf Bey V, Richard Lewis and Tamon Halfin should be tried on seven felony counts each, accusing them of kidnapping and torturing two women May 17, 2007.
A fifth defendant, Joshua Bey, also faced felony charges. He pleaded guilty in February and is a prosecution witness facing three years in prison. The four remaining defendants face life sentences if convicted on all counts.
Friday’s ruling ends the lengthy preliminary examination phase of the case, which was plagued with scheduling delays and dragged on for more than nine months. Bey IV, Bey V, Halfin and Lewis are next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 22.
Bey IV was arrested Aug. 3, 2007, the day after Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was slain. Another bakery associate, Devaughndre Broussard, is charged with that slaying. Broussard’s trial date may be set next month.
Broussard at first denied killing Bailey, then, after being left alone with Bey IV for seven minutes, confessed. He later recanted that confession and pleaded not guilty.
Police have not charged Bey IV in connection with Bailey’s death.
On a secretly recorded police video that is key evidence in the kidnapping case, Bey IV said he put the shotgun used to kill Bailey in his bedroom closet after the crime; that he drove by the murder scene “right after it happened to make sure everything was kick-ass”; and boasted that the lead detective on the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, a family friend, was protecting him from charges.
He also, on the tape, mimicked the impact of shotgun blasts to Bailey’s face and laughed about the killing. In statements to police and media interviews he has denied any involvement in Bailey’s death.
Alameda District Attorney Tom Orloff has said that Bey IV is not being aggressively investigated in connection with Bailey’s killing largely because he already faces a life sentence in the kidnapping case. But Orloff said Bey IV could face charges if new information about Bey IV’s involvement emerged during Broussard’s trial.
Deputy District Attorney Scott D. Patton said the evidence in the kidnapping case is strong. Bey IV and Halfin incriminated themselves on the secret video, he said, and Joshua Bey’s testimony has proven credible, he said.
“This is an important case. These are very serious crimes,” Patton said after the ruling.
Taking the witness stand Friday was a former bakery associate who had been facing contempt of court charges for refusing to testify in the kidnapping case.
Those contempt charges were dropped as Kahlil Rahem, 28, testified that Bey IV called him on May 17 and asked him to pick him up near where the torture allegedly took place at an abandoned East Oakland house. Raheem said that a day or two later, at Bey IV’s direction, he reported a car allegedly used in the kidnapping, stolen.
Attorneys for each witness spent time Friday challenging Rahem’s credibility and his recent no-contest plea in another case in which Bey IV’s was a co-defendant. That involved the 2005 vandalism of two West Oakland liquor stores.
Bey IV pleaded no contest in that case last week and faces a three-year sentence. Raheem also pleaded no contest and is to be sentenced to five years probation in exchange for his testimony in the kidnapping case.
Theodore Johnson, Bey IV’s lawyer, was critical of Raheem’s testimony Friday.
“He’s changed his testimony four times,” Johnson said.
Johnson claimed that evidence in the kidnapping case is scanty and that both Joshua Bey and Raheem lack credibility.
Also Friday, Labowitz denied a motion by Bey IV’s lawyers to grant him bail.
Johnson said Bey IV, 22, is needed at home to help raise and support three children and that he remains “the spiritual leader” of the defunct bakery. His followers “individuals who need his guidance,” Johnson said.
Patton pointed out that Bey IV was caught on tape threatening to have a police officer killed to prevent him from testifying against Bey IV and that he faces charges in numerous Alameda County cases and one case each in San Francisco, Contra Costa and Solano county courts.
A self-described “man of God,” Bey IV stands accused in those other cases of assault for attempting to run over a strip-club bouncer with his car, real estate fraud, weapons possession, theft, shoplifting and other crimes.
Johnson said of his client, “We don’t think there is any danger to society.”
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Reach him email@example.com.