Bailey witness Broussard can’t remember specific ‘kill’ order from Yusuf Bey IV
OAKLAND — Admitted killer Devaughndre Broussard testified under cross-examination Tuesday that he couldn’t remember if former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV used the word “kill” in ordering a homeless man shot to death in 2007.
Broussard also said he couldn’t remember when and where Bey IV told him to slay the man, Odell Roberson, who was shot dead two blocks from the bakery on July 8, 2007.
When Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, asked Broussard if Bey IV expressly used the word “kill” to order the alleged hit, Broussard answered, “I couldn’t say.”
Tuesday was Broussard’s first full day of cross examination in the triple murder trial of Bey IV and co-defendant Antoine Mackey. Broussard claims Bey IV ordered him to kill Roberson and the journalist Chauncey Bailey in summer 2007 and that Mackey helped him. He has also testified that Bey IV and Mackey bragged about killing a third man, Michael Wills.
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, have pleaded not guilty. They face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
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Broussard, 23, often smiled and laughed — and sometimes smirked — as Peretti and later, Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, peppered him with questions.
Outside court, Peretti said he thought he was making headway in undermining Broussard’s credibility before the jury of five men and seven women. Peretti said Broussard’s story that Bey IV ordered Roberson killed because he was related to a man who killed Bey IV’s older brother in 2005 wasn’t holding up. “It’s hazy,” Peretti said.
Broussard’s details of shooting Roberson make sense, the lawyer said, but his inability to tell a clear story about an order from Bey IV show “it was much more likely an independent act.”
“It is inconceivable to me that (Bey IV) would instruct him to commit a murder,” Peretti continued in an interview outside Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon’s courtroom.
Near the end of his nearly two-hour questioning, Peretti asked Broussard if he killed Roberson and Bailey simply “to please Mr. Bey.”
Of the Bailey killing, Broussard said, “I know he (Bey IV) wanted it done.”
“Did you kill Mr. Wills?” Peretti asked.
“No,” Broussard replied.
“Are you sure?” Peretti snapped.
“Yes,” Broussard said, before breaking into laughter and smirking.
Bailey’s brother, Errol Cooley, who watched the morning testimony, said it seemed that Peretti was “trying to trip up” Broussard, who sometimes takes long pauses before answering questions.
Peretti and Sirbu have said the trial comes down to Broussard’s credibility, calling him a calculating liar. Under questioning from prosecutor Melissa Krum on Monday, Broussard said he told numerous lies to try and escape a life sentence on charges he killed Bailey, then decided to cooperate with authorities.
Sirbu’s questions concentrated on Broussard’s plea agreement. He is to receive a 25-year prison term in exchange for his testimony.
Broussard said he pushed his attorney, LeRue Grim, to approach prosecutors about a deal, saying he was frustrated with Grim’s work.
“Why didn’t you fire him?” Sirbu asked.
“Because I didn’t want no public defender,” Broussard said, adding that his uncle was paying Grim’s fees.
As Sirbu pushed for more details about the plea deal, Broussard seemed to find humor in making the lawyer’s job as difficult as possible.
Sirbu asked what Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lamiero, who was then assigned to the case, first said to him when they initially met to discuss a deal.
“He said, ‘How you doing?” Broussard replied and broke into a wide grin.
Broussard is expected to continue his testimony Wednesday. Jurors will also hear from another witness, Rigoberto Magana, who is being brought from Mexico to testify that he owned the white van that Broussard and Mackey allegedly used as a getaway vehicle following Bailey’s shooting.
Reach investigative reporter Thomas Peele at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.