Bakery member turned on his co-horts immediately upon capture, he testifies
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND – A half brother of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV testified Tuesday morning that he implicated four other men in the May 2007 kidnapping of two women and torturing of one of them immediately after being arrested two and half months later.
Joshua Bey told jurors that he told a detective that Bey IV was the ringleader.
“How did it feel to betray your brothers?” Prosecutor Christopher Lamiero asked him.
“I don’t know if I was thinking of any of that,” he replied.
“You didn’t feel that what you did a big deal?” Lamiero asked.
Joshua Bey said he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong because he didn’t know the women would be kidnapped.
Joshua Bey told the jury in the trial of bakery follower Richard Lewis that he began cooperating with police because he believed his role in the kidnapping was so minor he wouldn’t be charged.
He said he told investigators that Lewis, Bey IV, Yusuf Bey V and Tamon Halfin were involved in the attacks on the women.
“I felt that if I told him what I did, because I didn’t really do nothing, he’d let me go,” Joshua Bey said of his interrogation by then Oakland Detective Jesse Grant on Aug. 3, 2007.
He was wrong about not being charged; Joshua Bey faced life in prison without parole until he agreed to testify against the others. He is being promised a three-year sentence for his cooperation.
Bey V has also pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for a 10-year sentence.
Lewis is the first of the five men who were charged in the case to stand trial. His attorney, Patrick Hetrick, claims Lewis had nothing to do with the crime and is being framed by Joshua Bey and Bey V so they can reduce prison time.
As Joshua Bey, wearing a jail uniform with bright red stripes testified for three-and-half days, Lewis often fidgeted at the defense table, scrawling notes on a yellow pad.
Lamiero had told jurors they would find Joshua Bey to be “weak” and that his testimony would be cumbersome. Lamiero slowly led the witness through a lengthy story of the kidnapping.
Joshua Bey said he knew Bey IV intended to rob drug dealers in order to obtain money to pay down debts that eventually forced the bakery into bankruptcy. But when he said he was ordered to go to Foothill Square the night of May 17, 2007, he didn’t know two women would be the victims.
He testified that in the parking lot of a bingo parlor, he and Halfin met with a convicted drug dealer named Johnny Anton. They were told, he said, to follow two women when they left. He testified that Bey IV, Bey V and Lewis then pulled the women over on Interstate 680 using what was once a police car that still had flashing lights.
Joshua Bey said he watched from the back seat of a car Halfin was driving as his brothers and Lewis, wearing masks and carrying guns, kidnapped the women. One of them testified earlier that she was beaten at an East Oakland house and that the attackers demanded to know where she and a man who sold her cocaine kept their money.
Joshua Bey testified that he wasn’t in the house when the woman was beaten. Tuesday morning he said he was in the house briefly and that Bey IV had just handed him a pistol when a police car drove past.
“We panicked,” he said, and fled.
He and Bey V made it to a gas station and eventually got a ride back to the bakery in North Oakland. He said Bey IV then sent him and Halfin back to East Oakland, where they picked up Lewis.
Joshua Bey was arrested when police raided the bakery on Aug. 3, 2007 — the day after the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey. Bey IV is charged with ordering Bailey’s slaying.
Bey IV and Halfin were also arrested that day. Bey V was already jailed on an unrelated gun charge. Lewis was arrested the next month.
Joshua Bey also said that when police left him, Bey IV and Halfin alone in an interrogation room two days later, Bey IV told him his plan was to blame the attack on Anton.
At the time, Bey IV was romantically involved with Anton’s daughter, according to Lamiero.
Anton gave prosecutors two statements under a grant of immunity and has since disappeared and is likely in fear for his life, Lamiero has said.