Chauncey Bailey jurors to see video in which bakery leader appears to mock killing
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Jurors in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial are scheduled this week to watch a secretly recorded police video of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV mocking the shotgun blasts that killed the journalist and laughing about his death.
“Pow, pow, poof!” Bey IV said in the recording, apparently mimicking the three 12-gauge shotgun blasts his follower Devaughndre Broussard has admitted firing at Bailey at arm’s-length range. Bey IV then throws his head back and rolls his eyes forward before breaking into convulsing laughter.
“Where he shoot him at? In the head?” Bey IV’s younger half brother, Joshua Bey, asks him on recording.
“In the head!” Bey IV exclaims and laughs again.
Click here to see a version of the video produced by the Chauncey Bailey Project that includes enhanced sound and subtitles. The jury will see a different version of the same recording.
The video will likely be played Tuesday after the judge and attorneys determine Monday how much of the two-hour video jurors will see.
The recording, made as evidence in another case, shows Bey IV expressing relief that the murder weapon wasn’t found in his bedroom closet, where it had been returned shortly after Bailey’s slaying, but removed just hours before police raided the bakery Aug. 3, 2007 — the day after Bailey was killed.
Two of Bey IV’s followers, half-brother Joshua Bey — who testified Monday about the video — and Tamon Halfin, watch as Bey IV says how he told police Broussard was the shooter and brags how he lied to detectives and district attorney’s office investigators when questioned.
He also speaks of Bailey’s killers in the plural, saying at one point, “The gun they used, it was in my closet.” Broussard has testified that Bey IV ordered him and bakery member Antoine Mackey to kill the Oakland Post editor to stop a story he was working on about the bakery. Bey IV and Mackey are being tried together for Bailey’s death and the unrelated shooting deaths of two other men in summer 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.
Much of Bey IV’s defense is centered on the claim that he didn’t order anyone killed and that Broussard acted alone in order to receive increased status the bakery. In a 2008 interview at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Bey IV claimed he knew he was being recorded and said he made numerous lies to confuse police.
Criminal experts who reviewed the video before the Chauncey Bailey Project put it online in June 2008 said it was clear Bey IV didn’t know he was being filmed,
The video ruse was designed by former Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers to collect more evidence in a May 2007 kidnapping and torture case in which Bey IV is charged. Police left Bey IV, Joshua Bey and Halfin alone in a room at the San Leandro Police Department equipped with hidden cameras.
Bey IV quickly told the others they needed to get their stories straight on the kidnapping — to which he’s pleaded not guilty — and expressed confidence the victim, a woman who had a bag placed over her head, could not identify her attackers.
“She didn’t see (anything). If we don’t say (anything), (police) don’t got (anything),” he says on the tape.
The same Superior Court Judge presiding over the murder trial, Thomas Reardon, ruled in 2009 that the video could be used against Bey IV in the kidnapping case and called it “devastating” evidence of Bey IV’s guilt.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum is expected Monday to question Joshua Bey about the kidnapping case. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
At the trial of bakery associate Richard Lewis last year, another of Bey IV’s half brothers, Yusuf Bey V, testified that the kidnapping was a desperate attempt to learn where a major drug dealer they intended to rob kept his money, by torturing a woman who bought cocaine from him.
A police officer happened upon an East Oakland house where the woman was being tortured and rescued her.
A convicted drug dealer, Albert “Johnny” Antone, testified last week that he helped Bey IV set up the woman. Bey IV had asked to borrow money from him to “save the bakery,” Antone said, but he countered with an idea of robbing the drug dealer and the woman.
Krum told jurors in her opening statement last month that the cases are related because Bey IV was desperate in each because of his serious financial struggles; he was willing to risk robbing the drug dealer to get money and willing to kill Bailey to keep a story about the bakery’s troubles out of a newspaper so it wouldn’t hurt his ability to borrow money.
Contact investigative reporter Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.