Bey IV tries to move murder trial out of Alameda County
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Accused triple killer Yusuf Bey IV is as legally entitled to have his murder trial moved out of Alameda County as former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle was in successfully moving his murder trial, Bey IV’s lawyer said Monday.
“I think the cases are very comparable,” Gene Peretti, Bey IV’s lawyer, said after a brief hearing on his client’s change of venue motion.
Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson set arguments in the matter for the week of July 19, saying he expected them to take several days.
Peretti cited nearly three years of coverage of journalist Chauncey Bailey’s 2007 murder and the demise of Bey IV’s Your Black Muslim Bakery as the reason to move the case.
“It all really affects whether we can get a fair jury,” he said. “The Bay Area has been saturated.”
Prosecutor Christopher Lamiero declined to comment Monday.
Jacobson is the same judge who agreed to move the Mehserle case, which is ongoing in Los Angeles.
In doing so, he cited the potential for violent protests if the former officer were tried in Oakland.
“Witnesses in this case are truly frightened by the violence, civil unrest, and the death threats that have been directed at anyone in the path of this case,” he wrote in his decision to move the case.
There have been no protests or violent incidents associated with the charges against Bey IV and his co-defendant, Antoine Mackey, although Bey IV is currently being investigated for plotting to kill witnesses in the Bailey case with one of his followers.
“Bey (IV) doesn’t have anything close to the force of argument that Mehserle had,” said Golden Gate Law School Dean Emeritus Peter Keane. Mehserle was captured on video firing a fatal shot into Oscar Grant’s back as Grant lay handcuffed on a BART station platform — a scene shown countless times on local television.
But, Keane added, media coverage of the bakery and Bey family has gone beyond the three killings with which Bey IV is charged.
“He’s been associated with a lot of people who are a suspect lot, to put it kindly,” he said. Still, Keane added, “It isn’t a slam dunk by any means.”
Peretti said he found news coverage of the Bailey killing to be as frequent as those in the Mehserle case and to have gone on for a longer period of time. His client has also been tainted by news stories about the bakery — a religious and business enterprise started by Bey IV’s late father, Yusuf Bey — that aren’t directly related to the Bailey case.
Bey IV is accused of ordering his followers to kill Bailey and two other men in the summer of 2007. Mackey is accused of shooting one of the others, Michael Wills, and participating in the slaying of Bailey and the third victim, Odell Roberson.
Devaughndre Broussard, a Bey IV follower, told a grand jury last year that Bey IV ordered him to kill Bailey to stop a story he was working on about the bakery’s troubled finances. Broussard also admitted to shooting Roberson at Bey IV’s order, and said that Mackey admitted to shooting Wills.
Roberson was an uncle of a man convicted of killing Bey IV’s older brother, Antar Bey, in 2005. Broussard told the grand jury that Mackey boasted of killing Wills at Bey’s order because the victim was a “white devil.”
The Beys adhered to Black Muslim teachings that include that Caucasians are devils, that African Americans are the world’s master race and that God controls a “mother plane” in orbit around the earth preparing bombs for the battle of Armageddon.
Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, said Monday his client may seek to be tried separately. “It will develop, trust me,” he said of a motion to sever the defendants.
Neither Bey nor Mackey appeared in court Monday. Bey IV’s mother, Daulet Bey, broke the family’s silence on the case, yelling at a reporter before the hearing, “You put in there I love my son.” She declined to answer questions.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter. Reach him at Tpeele@bayareanewsgroup.com.