Chauncey Bailey Project

Judge: Yusuf Bey IV must stand trial on kidnap and torture charges

Yusuf Bey IV's attorneys Lorna Brown, left, and Anne Beles leave Oakland courtroom in May (Dean Coppola/MediaNews)
Yusuf Bey IV's attorneys Lorna Brown, left, and Anne Beles leave Oakland courtroom in May (Dean Coppola/MediaNews)

Yusuf Bey IV's attorneys Lorna Brown, left, and Anne Beles leave Oakland courtroom in May (Dean Coppola/MediaNews)

By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project

OAKLAND — A judge on Friday shot down Yusuf Bey IV’s attempt to dismiss kidnapping and torture charges against him, quickly ruling that there remains “incredibly damaging” evidence.

Bey IV’s lawyer Anne Beles, argued that her client’s rights were violated in April when another judge refused to allow a witness to testify at a preliminary hearing after which Bey IV was ordered to stand trial in the case.

That decision was the second time a judge ruled there was enough evidence to proceed with the case against the 23-year-old former CEO of the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery. An earlier decision was thrown out because of technical missteps.

Rather than compel live testimony at the April hearing, Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley allowed a reading of a transcript of testimony by Bey IV’s half brother, Joshua Bey. Bey IV and four others were charged in 2007 with kidnapping two women and torturing one of them in an alleged attempt to learn the location of a stash of drug money. He faces life in prison if convicted.

In a separate case, Bey IV faces triple murder charges for allegedly ordering the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in 2007. He and co-defendant Antoine Mackey are scheduled to stand trial next year.

Beles, who did not represent Bey IV at the hearing in April, argued that she should have had a chance to cross-examine Joshua Bey, calling it a matter of “fundamental fairness.” If that had happened, she said Friday, the preliminary hearing judge, Joseph Hurley, might have reached a different conclusion.

Beles said that by not allowing the testimony, Hurley created the appearance that the hearing might have been “a rubber stamp” and made “the whole thing a farce.”

But Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Reardon said Friday that Hurley had wide latitude to decide who, if anyone, should testify. Even if Beles had cross-examined Joshua Bey and impugned his testimony, ample other evidence exists that indicates Hurley would have reached the same decision, Reardon said.

That evidence includes a secretly recorded video of Bey IV talking in a jail cell with Joshua Bey and another defendant in the case, Tamon Halfin. Among the things Bey IV said on the tape is that the three needed to get their “stories straight” about the alleged kidnapping and torture.

Also on the tape, Bey IV threatened to have a police officer who saved the woman killed to prevent his testimony.

The officer happened upon a vacant home in East Oakland, saw a former police car then belonging to Bey IV parked outside and heard a woman screaming.

As he began to investigate, the defendants allegedly ran away.

Reardon said the videotape contained “incredibly damaging” evidence against Bey IV.

Another of Bey IV’s half brothers, Yusuf Bey V, pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to testify against another defendant in the case, Richard Lewis.

Bey V and Lewis were being tried separately from Bey IV and Halfin because they were not in the cell when the video was taped.

Lewis, with Bey V testifying against him, is scheduled for trial later this year. Bey V agreed to accept a 10-year prison term. He had faced life in prison.

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