Bey IV is no saint, but he did not order journalist’s slaying, defense says
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Former Your Black Muslim bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV lied to police about owning guns, was “beyond rude” when caught on tape laughing about journalist Chauncey Bailey’s death and committed other crimes, but none of it makes him guilty of ordering three people killed, his lawyer told jurors Thursday.
In closing arguments, defense lawyer Gene Peretti said the charges against his client hinge on one fact jurors cannot escape — that the key witness against him, Devaughndre Broussard, has no credibility.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum’s case is built upon uncharged crimes and the theory that Bey IV is “a shot caller” when he isn’t, Peretti said, because of the huge gaps in Broussard’s credibility. He told jurors Krum has not proven Bey IV’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The bakery was not a criminal enterprise under Bey IV, Peretti said. It was more “of a cooperative,” he said, but one that was “destined for failure” because of crushing debts.
“This is a one-witness case,” he said. Other evidence describing Bey IV as out-of-control “shot caller,” Peretti said, “is designed to shore up weak foundations.”
Broussard, he said, “won the lottery” when prosecutors offered him a 25-year sentence in exchange for his testimony, and Broussard lied when he told jurors that Bey IV ordered three murders.
“It’s his ticket out,” Peretti said. “He’s jumping for the bait like a dolphin leaping for a sardine.”
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Krum ended her closing argument earlier Thursday, saying “sometimes you have to make a deal with a demon to get the devil.”
Broussard told jurors in March that Bey IV ordered him to kill Bailey and a homeless man, Odell Roberson, and that Bey IV’s co-defendant, Antoine Mackey, helped him with each hit. He also said Bey IV and Mackey bragged to him they killed a third victim, Michael Wills.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, echoed Peretti in his closing arguments.
“This is an insignificant case with insignificant witnesses,” Sirbu said.
Peretti began by saying Bey IV was 19 and charged with “sweeping and mopping” at the bakery when its leadership was thrust upon him in 2005 when his older brother, Antar Bey, was shot and killed.
Because of debt his brother had taken on, Bey IV found the bakery “in a deadly vortex,” and had no business training to rely upon. “It was well on its way to financial disaster,” he said.
When the bakery filed for bankruptcy a year later “it was all a matter of public record,” Peretti noted, disputing Broussard’s claims that Bey IV wanted Bailey dead to stop him from writing about the proceedings in the Oakland Post, where he was editor.
Contact Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.