Trial of two men charged with killing Chauncey Bailey on track to start later this month
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Lawyers wrapped up months of pretrial wrangling in the prosecution of two men charged with murdering journalist Chauncey Bailey and two others Monday, all but assuring that opening statements will begin after the seating of a jury March 21.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon scheduled no further court dates until 12 jurors and five alternates are selected from a pool of 109 people in two weeks.
The defendants, former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey, both 25, lost motions Monday as Reardon steered the case forward after denying a change of venue motion late last month.
Monday, the judge ruled that prosecutor Melissa Krum can use as evidence a sawed-off Remington shotgun found under Mackey’s bed when police raided the bakery on Aug. 3, 2007. It was loaded with the same type and brand of shells that were found in Bey IV’s bedroom, she said.
It was not the gun that confessed killer Devaughndre Broussard used to kill Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007, but the ammunition was similar.
“The point is these are shared guns and ammunition doled out by Bey (IV) and it ties everyone together in one group,” Krum said, asserting that Mackey and Broussard “were the go-to guys, the hitters,” in Bey IV’s organization.
Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, argued against admitting the gun simply because of where it was found or the types of shells in it. “There’s not enough to tie it in,” he said. “The weapon only shows how common they were in the compound. There were weapons everywhere.”
Reardon did deny Krum’s motion to introduce a bulletproof vest, black ski mask, gloves and a handcuff key also found in Mackey’s bedroom.
Bey IV is charged with ordering Bailey killed to stop publication of what he perceived would be a negative story Bailey was writing about the bakery for the Oakland Post, where he was editor. He is also charged with ordering two other men, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills, killed in the summer of 2007.
Broussard, a self-described Black Muslim soldier who told a grand jury in 2009 that Bey IV promised to teach him how to get rich through fraud in exchange for killings, has admitted shooting Bailey and Roberson. He also testified that Mackey helped him commit both murders and that Mackey bragged about killing Wills, also on Bey IV’s order.
In exchange for his testimony, Broussard is to receive a 25-year sentence. Sirbu and Bey IV’s lawyer have said the case hinges on Broussard’s credibility, which they have promised to attack aggressively.
Also Monday, Reardon declined to involve himself in where Bey IV would be jailed during the trial. Bey IV wants to be housed in Oakland rather than Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Reardon wouldn’t intervene in what he said was a decision by the Sheriff’s Office and that where Bey IV is housed during the trial isn’t a violation of his rights.
As Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, finished speaking to Reardon, Bey IV tried to address the judge himself, but Peretti grabbed his client’s hand and said, “No!” Court then adjourned.
During jury selection last month, Bey IV spoke directly to Reardon over Peretti’s objections and accused the judge of unfairness. Peretti said last month he wouldn’t file a motion formalizing Bey IV’s complaint.
Reach investigative reporter Thomas Peele at email@example.com. and follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.