Chauncey Bailey jurors watch secret video, hear more witnesses
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Jurors in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial watched a 62-minute, secretly recorded police video Wednesday of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV laughing about bloodshed, plotting how to escape charges in criminal cases and threatening to sanction killings.
Before the showing, defense lawyers again wrangled with Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon, attempting to limit how much jurors would see of the video.
Bey IV’s co-defendant, Antoine Mackey, was not part of the recording and his lawyer, Gary Sirbu, convinced Reardon to admonish jurors that they could consider the video against Mackey only in the sense of how Bey IV ordered others to do his bidding.
Reardon placed no restriction on how jurors can consider the evidence against Bey IV, who is facing triple-murder charges along with Mackey in connection with Bailey’s death and the deaths of two other men in summer 2007.
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.
KTVU-TV: Bailey jury shown video of Bey laughing about murder
Bay Area News Group: Chauncey Bailey murder trial Special Report
The video was secretly made by police as Bey IV and two of his followers, Tamon Halfin and Joshua Bey, waited in a San Leandro Police Department interrogation room after their arrest on an unrelated torture and kidnapping case.
Jurors followed on transcripts as the video played on a large-screen television about 25 feet in front of them. A few looked up at the screen and occasionally grimaced, but otherwise didn’t react.
Bey IV, his head bowed, read a transcript as he was shown on the screen laughing about Bailey’s death. The then 21-year-old says, “Pow, pow, poof!” and throws his head back to mimic the fatal shotgun blasts bakery follower Devaughndre Broussard confessed to firing at Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007.
Broussard testified that Bey IV ordered Bailey killed to stop him from writing about the bakery’s troubled finances in the Oakland Post. Broussard also said Bey IV ordered him to kill another man, Odell Roberson, and that Mackey helped him with both slayings. Mackey is also accused of killing a third man, Michael Wills, also on Bey IV’s order.
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, have pleaded not guilty; they face life in prison without parole if convicted. Broussard is to receive a 25-year sentence for testifying against them.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum contended the video shows Bey IV’s “enormous ego” and a consciousness of guilt in both the Bailey murder and the kidnapping and torture case. Reardon is letting her argue facts from the latter to show Bey IV’s desperation to save the bakery from bankruptcy and the willingness of followers to follow his orders.
On the video, Bey IV:
–Suggested that a police officer who broke up the May 2007 torture of a woman might be killed to keep him from testifying. “We got some crazy (expletive) hitters out there.”
–Told Halfin and Joshua Bey they could avoid conviction in the kidnapping case by staying silent because the victim didn’t see her masked attackers’ faces and because they put a bag over her head.
–Suggested that then-Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums would do whatever Bey IV wanted of him out of fear following Bailey’s killing.
–Said his followers might kill an unidentified person “next,” a reference that Reardon said could be taken to mean Bey IV killed before.
–Laughed about Bailey’s corpse “being fat now, all stuffed up,” an apparent reference to decomposition.
–Said he prefers shotguns because pellets fired from those weapons “can’t be traced.”
–Told Halfin and Joshua Bey to speak in a code by using words with the opposite meaning of what they were trying to communicate. “If I say something is fine, that really means it’s all (expletive) up,” Bey IV said.
Lawyers spent most of Tuesday afternoon with Reardon arguing over what could be shown to jurors and what should be cut from the original recording, which was more than two hours long.
They agreed to cut repeated references to a 2005 vehicular assault case against Bey IV in San Francisco, and a few references to Mackey, who was referred to as “Ali” on the tape.
But Krum fought hard to keep much of the recording before the jury.
When Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, tried to strike his client’s comments about Bailey being “stuffed up,” she said to Reardon, “Stuffed up with what? Lead? Formaldehyde?”
Reardon agreed the remark could remain.
Later in the day, a woman who said she was romantically involved with Bey IV took the stand. Sheavon Williams, 26, told a grand jury two years ago that Bey IV asked her to watch a television report of Bailey’s death a few hours after it happened and told her “that will teach them to (expletive) with us.”
Krum had begun to question Williams about that remark when court ended for the day.
Earlier Wednesday, an expert in devices that enable police to track vehicles through global positioning systems, showed jurors reports generated from one of his company’s products that police hid under Bey IV’s Dodge Charger in the summer 2007.
Data from the device showed the car traveled routes that Broussard described in his testimony.
The data showed the car was parked outside Bailey’s apartment less than seven hours before he was gunned down, that it was driven past the shooting scene about 45 minutes after the killing, and that it was parked at Lake Merritt for about 20 minutes and eventually driven to the Emeryville Marina, where Broussard testified he, Bey IV and Mackey talked about the shooting.
Contact investigative reporter Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.