Convictions upheld in journalist’s 2007 murder in Oakland
By Thomas Peele and Josh Richman, Bay Area News Group
A state appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of two men in the 2007 murder of Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey, ruling that the defendants received a fair trial despite “a great deal of negative pretrial publicity.”
Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey were convicted in 2011. Bey IV ordered the killing, and Mackey helped a third man, gunman Devaughndre Broussard, carry it out. All were members of the now defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery.
The defendants claimed their trial should have been moved out of Alameda County because of scores of newspaper and television reports about Bailey’s killing. Mackey also claimed he should have received a separate trial.
At oral arguments in October, Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline said he and two other jurists were struggling with the change-of-venue question. But Wednesday’s unanimous ruling seemed unambiguous, with the justices finding that trial Judge Thomas Reardon picked “a jury that had been rigorously screened … for bias.”
“The evidence against defendants was strong and, while dependent on accomplice testimony, was sufficiently corroborated to comply with California law. Defendants were vigorously represented by counsel throughout the proceedings,” Associate Justice James Richman of the 1st District Court of Appeals wrote for himself and two other jurists in a 107-page ruling released late Wednesday.
Bey IV was also convicted of ordering two others, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills, killed in the weeks leading up to Bailey’s Aug. 7, 2007, slaying at 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland. Mackey was convicted of killing Wills. The jury could not reach a decision on charges he helped Broussard kill Roberson.
Broussard pleaded guilty to two killings and testified against his former friends in exchange for 25 years in prison.
The prosecutor in the case, Alameda County deputy district attorney Melissa Krum, said in a text message late Wednesday that she “is pleased and grateful that justice continues to be served for the horrific murders of Mr. Bailey, Mr. Wills and Mr. Roberson” and hopes that a “final affirmation of the convictions” comes quickly.
Further appeals are expected. Neither Bey IV nor Mackey’s lawyer could be immediately reached.
Broussard testified that Bey IV ordered him to “take out” Bailey to stop him from publishing a story about the bakery, an Oakland institution, founded by Bey IV’s father, Yusuf Ali Bey, in the early 1970s.
The Beys claimed the institution promoted self-help for African-Americans, but prosecutors described it as a front for a wide-ranging criminal enterprise.
Bailey, a former Oakland Tribune reporter, was editor of the weekly Oakland Post when he was killed.
Follow Thomas Peele on Twitter.com/thomas_peele and Josh Richman at Twitter.com/joshrichman.