Judge postpones sentencing of Bakery member in torture kidnap case
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — The sentencing of a follower of the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery convicted in April of kidnapping and torture charges was postponed Friday so prosecutors can respond to a claim that Richard Lewis is entitled to a new trial.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon set Lewis’ sentencing for July 16. Lewis faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He is the first of former bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV’s followers to be convicted in the myriad felonies that hastened the business and religious order’s collapse in 2007.
Lewis’s lawyer, Patrick Hetrick, filed papers a week ago claiming Bey IV was recently overheard in jail boasting that he “set up Lewis” in the kidnapping case and ordered two of his half brothers to testify against him. Joshua Bey and Yusuf Bey V have both pleaded guilty in the case and testified that Lewis took part in the kidnapping.
Joshua Bey testified against Yusuf Bey IV during a preliminary examination in the case and is expected to take the stand when Bey IV is tried. Bey V accepted a 10-year prison sentence to testify against Lewis only.
Lewis claimed at trial that he was not present when Bey IV allegedly led four followers in a failed attempt to learn where a drug dealer hid money. Besides Lewis, authorities say Bey V, Joshua Bey and Tamon Halfin participated.
Bey IV is also charged with ordering three murders that year, including the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey. A hearing on a change of venue motion in the Bailey case is scheduled for June 21.