Man testifies that Yusuf Bey IV borrowed his white van the morning of the Bailey killing
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — A man who lived at Your Black Muslim Bakery testified Wednesday that Yusuf Bey IV arranged to borrow his white van for other men he didn’t see a few hours before the August 2007 early-morning shooting of journalist Chauncey Bailey.
Rigoberto Magana told jurors that he awoke between 3 and 4 a.m. and heard “Yusuf’s voice” telling others to ask him for his keys.
“I think they were going to get something at Costco,” Magana said.
Other witnesses in Bey IV’s and bakery member Antoine Mackey’s triple murder-trial have described seeing a van of the same description outside Bailey’s apartment and parked near 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland where Bailey was shot Aug. 2, 2007. Bailey’s confessed killer, Devaughndre Broussard, has testified he and Mackey used the van to hunt down Bailey.
Broussard has admitted killing Bailey and another man, Odell Roberson, and said Bey IV ordered the slayings and that Mackey helped him.
He has also testified that Bey IV and Mackey bragged about killing a third man, Michael Wills. Bey IV wanted Bailey killed to stop him from writing about the bakery’s financial troubles in the Oakland Post, Broussard told jurors.
In exchange for his cooperation with authorities, Broussard is to receive a 25-year prison term. Bey IV and Mackey have pleaded not guilty and face life in prison without parole if convicted.
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Broussard’s fifth day of testimony was interrupted Wednesday morning so Magana, who authorities brought from his home in Mexico, could take the stand. Broussard is to resume being cross-examined by Mackey’s lawyer in the afternoon.
Magana said he lived at the bakery in exchange for doing odd jobs there and often loaned his Dodge caravan minivan to Bey IV. Once, he said, weeks before Bailey’s murder, he saw Mackey driving it after he gave the keys to Bey IV.
Magana said he didn’t know who took the keys from atop a space heater in his bedroom on the bakery’s second floor because it was dark and he had been asleep. Prosecutor Melissa Krum asked him if he thought it was odd that Bey IV said something about going to Costco in the middle of the night.
“It wasn’t strange,” he replied through a Spanish language interpreter, adding he hadn’t considered the timing. When Krum pushed, Magana said he had not loaned out the van at a similar time before.
When the van wasn’t back when he needed to leave for work at 7 a.m., Magana said he stood outside Bey IV’s bedroom window on San Pablo Avenue and both called him on his cell phone and spoke with him though an open window.
“Did he tell you it was on its way?” Krum asked. “Yes,” Magana replied.
Cell phone records that Krum has yet to introduce into evidence show Bey IV’s cell phone calling Mackey’s minutes after Bailey was killed, according to records obtained by the Chauncey Bailey Project in 2008.
Magana said that when he looked behind the bakery a few minutes later, the van was back, but the keys weren’t in it. He went back to Bey IV, who tossed them to him from the window.
When he went back to the van, he said he saw Mackey some distance away gesturing at him, but didn’t stop because he was late for work. Later, he said, he noticed that the van’s license plates had been removed and were inside the vehicle between the seats.
Broussard has testified that he saw Mackey remove the license plates before they drove off to find Bailey earlier that morning.