Bey IV accuses judge of being unfair; officer puts Mackey near a killing
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV accused the judge in his triple murder trial of being unfair to him Tuesday during an eventful day in court that also included a revelation that Bey IV’s co-defendant, Antoine Mackey, was found at the scene of one of the killings.
During a terse exchange with Judge Thomas Reardon, Bey IV asked if proceedings could go on without him, but quickly backed down and remained in court. Bey IV was upset with the judge’s ruling on the admissibility of parts of a taped statement his former girlfriend gave police in 2007 that seem to confirm that Bey IV wanted journalist Chauncey Bailey dead.
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, are facing murder charges in connection with Bailey’s death and the deaths of Odell Roberson and Michael Wills in summer 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.
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The recording of Sheavon Williams’ Aug. 4, 2007, statement is expected to be played in court Wednesday. Williams told jurors last week she has blocked out events surrounding Bailey’s death, as well as details of her statement and what she told a grand jury two years ago. She said she couldn’t remember telling police that Bey IV bragged about Bailey’s death, pointing at a television newscast about it and saying, “That will teach them to (expletive) with me.”
Reardon and lawyers spent most of Tuesday morning outside the presence of the jury parsing a transcript of the recording, removing portions that cannot be used as evidence. Toward the end of the transcript, Reardon ruled that a portion that Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, wanted included would be cut, and Bey IV began speaking to the judge directly.
“You’re not talking,” Reardon told him, but Bey IV kept speaking as Reardon admonished him again to stop.
“This stuff is legal,” Bey IV said of the portion of the transcript.
“When you go to law school and learn the evidence code, get back to me,” Reardon snapped.
Bey IV turned to Peretti and said, “He isn’t being fair.”
Then, he said to the judge, “Do I have to be here for the rest of the trial if I don’t want to be? I don’t want to take part in something that isn’t fair to me.”
Reardon told him he didn’t have to be present to be tried, but Bey IV didn’t respond. Peretti declined to comment outside court.
During Williams’ testimony last week, Bey IV stared at her intently when she was on the stand and motioned for one of his brothers to follow her when she left the courtroom. Prosecutor Melissa Krum later found her alone with Bey’s brother in a waiting room. Williams told jurors that she wasn’t threatened in that instance, but that members of the Bey family had shown up at her home unannounced and harassed her.
Reardon agreed Tuesday to withhold portions of Williams’ statement that he considered opinion or speculation.
Bey IV asked Peretti to bring one portion to Reardon’s attention. It involved Williams saying that she heard Bey IV on the phone with people who appeared to be staking out a building and she thought it was a courthouse.
Bailey’s confessed killer, Devaunghdre Broussard, who has testified against Bey IV and Mackey, told jurors that he and Mackey spent much of the day before Bailey’s death watching a building at 14th and Franklin streets, where Bailey worked as editor of the Oakland Post.
Bey IV appeared to key on the possible discrepancy between Williams’ statement and Broussard’s testimony and told Peretti to try and get it included.
But Reardon disagreed.
“For the last hour and a half you sat here saying you wanted speculation out,” the judge said. “Now you’re changing horses.”
It was then that Bey IV began talking over both men and Reardon told him to stop.
The testimony about Mackey came in the afternoon from Oakland Police Officer Victor Garcia, the first officer to arrive at the scene of Roberson’s July 8, 2007, death at 60th and Herzog streets in Oakland.
Garcia said he stopped a man standing nearby, who produced identification saying he was Mackey. The officer described Mackey as “moving around, not standing around, looking around the corner” — body language that indicated “he wanted to leave.”
Mackey said he didn’t hear or see anything, Garcia said, and he left after the officer wrote down his identifying information.
Garcia first identified Bey IV in court Tuesday as the person he saw that night, then corrected himself when shown a picture of Mackey, who he had not seem since that night.
Under cross examination from Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, Garcia said that he did not note anything about Mackey’s demeanor or body language in his written report.
Outside court, Sirbu said further evidence will show that Mackey had flagged down another police officer and reported someone had been shot.
The evidence will show that Mackey’s behavior was “totally consistent with a person who has not committed a homicide,” Sirbu said.
Reach investigative reporter Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/thomas_peele.