Chauncey Bailey Project

Devaughndre Broussard: I want the families to know I am sorry

By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project

OAKLAND — The man who gunned down journalist Chauncey Bailey and a second man in 2007 knows forgiveness is too much to ask, but he wants his victims’ families to know he is sorry for the pain he caused.

“I don’t expect them to forgive me,” Devaughndre Broussard said Thursday. “But I hope they hear me.

“It was morally wrong,” Broussard, 23, said in the interview at North County Jail in Oakland, where he has been held in isolation for nearly four years after his arrest for shooting Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, on Aug. 2, 2007, and Odell Roberson, a 31-year-old homeless man, on July 8, 2007.

When he killed his victims, Broussard said, he didn’t think of them as people and “didn’t contemplate the pain and grief” their deaths would create for survivors.

Broussard confessed to killing both men, and said it was on the order of his then-religious mentor, Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV. Based largely on Broussard’s testimony, Bey IV and another bakery member, Antoine Mackey, were convicted June 9 of multiple first-degree murder charges.

Speaking through a glass partition in a small visiting room, Broussard said he was not surprised that a jury convicted Bey IV of ordering the deaths of Bailey, Roberson and the July 12, 2007, death of Michael Wills. Mackey was convicted of killing Wills, 36.

“I took it in stride,” Broussard said. “I heard it on the news.”

Broussard is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12 to 25 years in state prison after pleading guilty in 2009 to two counts of voluntary manslaughter. The terms were part of his plea bargain to testify against Bey IV and Mackey, who each face life sentences without parole.

Broussard said he will likely express his remorse publicly when he is sentenced. His attorney, LeRue Grim said Thursday, “he will make a statement.”

Broussard was dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, his hands and feet shackled to a waist chain. A small pencil was tucked above his right ear. He seemed far more relaxed and spoke far more easily than he did during his six days of trial testimony, when he often stuttered and paused.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum described him to jurors as a sociopath and a demon, saying authorities cut a deal with him only to get Bey IV — who she called ‘the devil” — as the one who ordered the killings.

Thursday, Broussard said he believes he was largely brainwashed.

He said Bey IV taught a false a version of Islam at the bakery, one that dates to the early 1930s. The belief claims whites and Jews are devils created by an evil scientist named Yakub through grafting experiments, and that a giant mother plane orbits the earth always preparing to launch scores of bombers that will destroy the planet in apocalyptic hellfire.

“I took what (Bey IV) said to be Islam. It wasn’t,” Broussard said. “Now I have time to read the Holy Quran beginning to end and come up with my own conclusions.”

He insisted that his “mind state” at the time of the killings was influenced by Bey IV, who promised to provide him with a false identity with a high credit score in exchange for committing the murders.

But Broussard said he does not regret his decision to join the bakery in 2006 following a nearly yearlong jail term in San Francisco on assault charges. He quit the bakery in early 2007 only to return when he couldn’t find other employment because he lacked a high school diploma and had a felony record.

“To say I regretted going back would be pointless,” he said. “It happened. I have to learn from my mistakes.

“We made the wrong conclusions,” he added, speaking of himself and his childhood friend, Richard Lewis, who also joined the bakery. Lewis is now serving a life term in Pelican Bay State Prison after being convicted in a May 2007 kidnapping and torture case involving two women. Bey IV, who is accused of planning the attack, still awaits trial in that case.

If there had been better programs in place when he got out of jail to help him acquire job skills, Broussard said he probably wouldn’t have agreed to became a “soldier” in Bey IV’s organization. “When you don’t have options you do desperate acts.”

Broussard said he had no regrets about becoming a prosecution witness after Bey IV failed to provide him with a lawyer or other help after pressuring him to tell police investigators he acted alone when he killed Bailey.

“I would have been giving the rest of my life (to a prison term) for those who would not give their lives for me,” Broussard said. “There is a price for loyalty they wasn’t willing to pay. The friendship I had for them they didn’t have for me.”

Broussard said he also wanted people to know he didn’t think Roberson’s killing was funny — even though he burst into laughter while describing it during trial testimony.

Instead, he said, he was laughing at what he took as the absurdity of the question. Krum, he said, had asked him what happened after he shot Roberson multiple times at close range with an AK-47 assault rifle.

“I wasn’t laughing in the sense the murder was funny,” he said. “He fell. What do you think he did?”

Broussard also laughed notably a second time on the stand, as he was describing a yellow Cadillac driven to the scene of a December 2007 shooting, where a car belonging to a man with whom Bey IV had a disagreement was riddled with bullets.

“I visualized the car and thought it was funny,” he said. The car, he added, was too conspicuous to use to commit a crime, like a “beacon in the night.”

Contact Thomas Peele at Follow him at

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