Shotgun shell, videotape among key evidence in Chauncey Bailey murder trial
By Thomas Peele and Josh Richman, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — A spent shotgun shell fired from the gun used to kill journalist Chauncey Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007, was found in the bedroom of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV the next day, a prosecutor said Monday during opening statements in Bailey’s murder trial.
That spent shell matched the brand and type of load — nine buckshot pellets — of a shell found next to Bailey’s body when he was gunned down near Lake Merritt, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum told jurors. The pellets were the same type that caused a savage wound to Bailey’s head as he lay dying on the ground after already being shot twice in the body, she said.
The revelation that the shell was found on the carpet of Bey IV’s living quarters came as Krum methodically outlined evidence in the triple-murder trial of Bey IV and bakery member Antoine Mackey. Bey IV and Mackey are on trial for Bailey’s death and the unrelated killings of two other men, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills, in summer 2007.
Bey IV is charged with ordering the slayings; Mackey is charged with killing Wills and helping in the slayings of Bailey and Roberson. Much of the case is based on the grand jury testimony and confession of former bakery member Devaughndre Broussard, who said he killed Bailey and Roberson on Bey IV’s order.
Bey IV and Mackey have pleaded not guilty.
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“This is a voluminous case,” Krum told the jury of seven men and five women near the end of her two-and-a-half hour opening statement, which began just after the jury was seated. “But it is not complicated. These are all crimes committed by Yusuf Bey IV’s ‘soldiers’ for the benefit of Yusuf Bey IV and Your Black Muslim Bakery.”
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, watched impassively as Krum showed jurors diagrams and photographs — including some of the victims’ wounds — on a large screen television.
Bey IV’s motive in having Bailey killed, she said, was to stop him from writing about the bakery’s financial troubles in the Oakland Post, where Bailey was editor. She also said Bey IV blamed Bailey — then working for the Oakland Tribune — for the death of his father, Yusuf Bey, who was facing child-rape charges when he died from cancer in 2003.
Krum said Broussard, 23, will testify that Bey IV claimed stress from Bailey’s reporting on the rape case quickened Yusuf Bey’s demise.
Bey IV even showed Broussard and others a video of his father’s funeral, which Bailey attended, stopping the tape to point out the journalist and say, “That’s the (expletive) that killed my dad,” Krum said.
A tape of Yusuf Bey’s funeral was found in a VCR in Bey IV’s bedroom, Krum said.
It was unclear Monday if defense lawyers would give opening statements Tuesday or reserve them until after Krum presents her case, which is expected to take six weeks or more.
Broussard is expected to be on the stand for a week or more. As part of a plea deal, Broussard has pleaded guilty to killing Bailey and Roberson and agreed to testify in exchange for a 25-year sentence. Broussard also told a grand jury that Mackey bragged about killing Wills, also at Bey IV’s order.
Defense lawyers Gene Peretti and Gary Sirbu plan a withering attack on Broussard’s credibility, they said at a news conference after the jury was seated.
“Broussard has never been tested,” said Peretti, who represents Bey IV. “He’s lying on all counts. He’s making it up. He’s saying the devil made me do it.”
Krum told jurors they would also see secretly recorded police videotape of Bey IV made in an unrelated case three days after Bailey’s killing. On it, Bey IV laughs about Bailey’s murder, brags that he told police Broussard committed the killing and says the murder weapon — a 12 gauge Mossberg, which Krum twice showed jurors — was in the bakery leader’s room shortly after the killing.
Peretti said he would “deal with” the videotape when it comes up as evidence, but didn’t elaborate.
Bailey’s brother, Errol Cooley, said watching Krum’s presentation was like “taking a scab off a wound that was trying to heal.”
Wills’ father, Michael Wills Sr., appeared stoic during Krum’s discussion of his son’s killing, looking directly at crime scene photos of his son’s corpse.
“What are you going to do?” Wills Sr. said outside court. “It’s part of the trial.”