Jury begins deliberations in Chauncey Bailey murder trial
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Jurors began deliberations Monday in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial, following two months of testimony from dozens of witnesses.
The jury of five men and seven women received the case shortly after Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum gave an hourlong rebuttal to defense attorneys’ closing statements. Krum emphasized what she said was ample evidence that former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV ordered Bailey, a local journalist, and two other men killed nearly four years ago.
Bey IV and his co-defendant in the triple-murder trial, bakery member Antoine Mackey, listened intently as Krum spoke, sometimes whispering to their attorneys and scribbling notes. Defense attorneys told jurors last week that their clients must be acquitted, saying Krum hasn’t proven her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Her star witness, confessed killer Devaughndre Broussard, is a seasoned liar whose testimony can’t be believed, they said.
Bey IV is charged with ordering the deaths of Bailey, 57, editor of the Oakland Post, and two other men in summer 2007: Odell Roberson, a 31-year-old homeless man who was related to a man convicted of killing Bey IV’s older brother, and Michael Wills, 36, a sous chef shot and killed on his way to a local convenience store.
Mackey is charged with killing Wills on July 12, 2007, and helping Broussard kill Bailey on August 3, 2007, and Roberson, who was shot July 8, 2007.
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, have pleaded not guilty. They face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Broussard, 23, confessed to shooting Bailey and Roberson and is expected to receive a 25-year sentence in exchange for his testimony.
In her rebuttal argument, Krum played bits of jail phone calls Broussard made to a relative the day after he confessed to shooting Bailey.
In those calls, Broussard referred to an unnamed person who made “the call” to kill Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007. Broussard said that person told detectives that Broussard was the killer; in police interviews, Bey IV told detectives he spoke with Broussard after the killing, and that Broussard said he acted alone to be a good “soldier” for the bakery.
In his testimony, Broussard said he confessed to the killing, but lied when he said he acted alone because Bey IV promised him money and told him he was being “tested by God” to protect the bakery.
Broussard “would have made up a better story” if he was lying to frame Bey IV and Mackey, Krum said. “He’s not stupid.”
She said there is no evidence — as the defense lawyers argued — that Broussard fabricated stories about Bey IV and Mackey in order to get a plea bargain.
“If there was some huge defense bombshell, you would have heard it,” she said.
Krum again showed jurors a videotape of Bey IV leading a group of his followers in close-order drills as one of them shouts Black Muslim rhetoric. She claims the drilling shows the militaristic nature of the bakery.
Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, told jurors in his closing argument last week that the drilling was more akin to the traditional marching band and “stepping” routines common at traditional African-American colleges, such as Grambling State University.
The drilling, Krum said, was used to send a message of intimidation “to the community.”
She also told jurors that they cannot discount the idea that Mackey is a killer because he was charming when he took the stand in his own defense on May 17. To emphasize that point, she flashed photographs of convicted killers Scott Peterson and Ted Bundy on a large television screen and said there was no such thing as a stereotypical killer.
As soon as jurors left the room, Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu, made a motion for a mistrial, which Judge Thomas Reardon denied.
“It goes too far. These are historical figures,” Sirbu claimed of the pictures, which he said were prejudicial against Mackey.
What jurors will take from the photos is that “killers can be good looking,” Reardon said.
Following Krum’s argument, Reardon read legal instructions to the jury for more than an hour before sending them to begin deliberations.
Contact Thomas Peele at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.