Chauncey Bailey jurors watch secret video
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Jurors in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial have finished watching a 62-minute video secretly recorded in a jail cell 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 murders.
Defense lawyers wrangled again with Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Tuesday morning, attempting to limit the recording’s impact.
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 the summer of 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: Bey jury to see secret video of Oakland bakery leader
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 was 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 murder and saying, “Pow, pow, poof!” and throwing his head back to mimic the fatal shotgun blasts bakery follower Devaughndre Broussard fired at Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007.
Broussard testified two weeks ago 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 Tuesday that the video shows Bey IV’s “enormous ego” and a consciousness of guilt in both the Bailey murder and in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case in which Bey IV has been charged. 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.
When testimony resumes in the afternoon, Krum is expected question Joshua Bey about the video. He sat in a witness stand in a red-and-white jail jumpsuit watching as it was played for the jury.
Contact investigative reporter Thomas Peele at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.