Additional murder charges imminent in journalist Chauncey Bailey’s killing
By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Mary Fricker, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Murder charges are imminent against former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and another man in the August 2007 killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey under a plea deal reached with the only person arrested in the case, law enforcement and other sources said Wednesday night.
Devaughndre Broussard, who confessed to killing Bailey and later recanted, has signed an agreement to testify that Bey IV ordered the hit to silence the journalist and that Antoine Mackey, another of Bey IV followers, helped carry it out. Bey IV and Mackey would face murder charges if indicted by a grand jury.
Charges in two other killings in July 2007 that police long have suspected bakery members committed also are likely. Broussard will admit to killing Odell Roberson and testify that Mackey shot and killed another man, Michael Wills. Both Roberson and Wills were slain in July of 2007 near San Pablo Avenue in North Oakland.
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Grand jury testimony is scheduled for next week, followed by indictments of Bey and Mackey.
In exchange for testimony, Broussard would plead guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and receive a set sentence of between 20 and 30 years, officials said.
Broussard would also admit to killing Roberson at Bey IV’s order. Roberson was the uncle of Alonza Phillips, who was convicted of killing Bey IV’s older brother, Antar Bey, in 2005.
Bey IV is jailed without bail on a host of unrelated charges, including kidnapping and torture. Mackey, who San Francisco police suspect was involved in multiple unsolved gang killings, is serving an unrelated burglary charge in state prison and could be released within a year.
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lamiero said he could not confirm any details Wednesday night.
“We are very close to a point where we are going to be able to hold accountable all of those responsible for Bailey’s murder,” he said. He declined to say anything further.
LaRue J. Grim, Broussard’s lawyer, only would say he expected significant developments in the case to happen quickly. “It’s hard, very hard” to potentially not take the case to trial, he said, adding that Broussard has “expressed remorse” over his actions, and that makes a deal more palatable.
Legal experts said it makes sense for District Attorney Thomas Orloff to approve a deal that would result in additional charges in Bailey’s death as well as clear other killings. “Nailing this thing shut is worth dealing with Broussard,” said Peter Keane, Golden Gate University Law School dean emeritus, recently, speaking of a possible agreement. “It would be a righteous deal.”
Former Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell called it “a hell of a deal. The (district attorney) got everything that he could possibly get and maybe more. He solves three murders, he gets Mackey, and he gets the alleged mastermind, Bey IV.”
Bailey’s sister, Lorelei Waqia, said she was thankful additional charges could be filed soon.
“At least we’re getting to the truth, and I think that’s important that everybody that’s involved has to pay the piper,” she said late Wednesday.
Lamiero has been leading an aggressive investigation of Bailey’s killing in the wake of a bungled Oakland police investigation of the slaying. The lead detective in case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, is close to being fired after an investigation found he compromised the handling of the Bailey inquiry.
Longmire was put on paid administrative leave Monday. Bey IV has been recorded bragging Longmire was protecting him from charges. A confidential informant told investigators Bey IV was overheard in jail describing Longmire as bakery sympathizer.
Longmire and Bey IV spoke at least twice on the phone last year while Bey was being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on kidnapping and torture charges.
The Chauncey Bailey Project reported last year Longmire failed to document in his case notes evidence of a conspiracy involving Bey to kill Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post.
A masked man shot Bailey three times with a sawed-off shotgun at 7:24 a.m. Aug. 2, 2007. Broussard confessed the next day, saying he killed the journalist “because he was going to write bad things about the bakery” and Bey IV.
From the beginning, it was clear Broussard didn’t act alone. He, Bey IV and Mackey stalked Bailey less than seven hours before the killing, parking near his Lake Merritt apartment. The next morning witnesses told police that they saw another man driving the white van in which Broussard fled the killing scene. Mackey has long been suspected of being the driver.
Broussard was arrested during an Aug. 3, 2007, raid of the bakery. He at first denied involvement. Longmire then left Broussard and Bey IV alone for seven minutes and did not record the conversation. Broussard then confessed.
A few days later, police secretly video taped Bey IV and two co-defendants in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case. Bey mocked Bailey’s killing, laughing and throwing his head back and saying, “That fool said pow, pow, poof!” to imitate the fatal shots.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.