Murder of Chauncey Bailey

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Chauncey Bailey was an American journalist who was murdered in Oakland, California in August 2007 to prevent him from publishing an investigative piece into the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery.

Murder[edit]

Bailey was shot and killed while working on a story about the finances of Your Black Muslim Bakery, involving its pending bankruptcy.[1][2] After the shooting, the Post publisher Paul Cobb revealed on television that, prior to Bailey's killing, Cobb had withheld from publication a story that Bailey had written earlier, saying only that it was about "things like" what happened to Bailey. He later stated that the police had asked him not to reveal anything about the matter. On August 6, 2007 a former employee of the bakery, Ali Saleem Bey, who is not a relative of the bakery's owner, but who adopted the Bey name, revealed that he was Bailey's source for the withheld story, which the Post had decided was not ready for publication. Bailey had asked Bey to give him the story.[3]

According to Ali Bey, the bakery business had been seized from its rightful heirs in a coup through fraud and forgery, by a ruthless, younger branch of the family, beginning with Antar Bey and culminating with the current chief executive officer, Yusuf Bey IV. Ali revealed that in June 2005, John Bey, the former head of the Bey security service, was driven out of town with his family after an attempt on his life in a shooting outside his home. John had tried to expose the fraud behind the coup. In 2005, Antar Bey mortgaged the bakery property, to cover back taxes and other debt, and then defaulted, which led to threat of foreclosure.[3] An attorney for the Post also confirmed that Bailey had been working on the story about the "financial status of the organization" and including the possibly criminal "activities of a number of people who were working in the organization".[3]

On October 24, 2006, Your Black Muslim Bakery, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing its CEO as Yusuf Ali Bey, otherwise known as Yusuf Bey IV. With $900,000 in debts, owed mostly to the mortgage holder, the building was about to be foreclosed upon. The remaining debt, $200,000, was owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The day after Bailey's death, on August 3, 2007 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward Jellen ordered the case to be converted to Chapter 7 liquidation effective August 9, 2007.[4]

Final days[edit]

By 2007 Bailey was living in an apartment near the south end of Lake Merritt, not far from downtown Oakland.[5] He was known to walk to work as a daily routine, and to stop for breakfast at a McDonald's restaurant at 14th Street and Jackson Street, about a half-block from where he was killed in the 200 block of 14th Street, becoming Oakland's 72nd homicide of 2007.[5]

On the morning of August 2, 2007, Bailey set out on his usual walk to work. Unknown to him, Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery, who was on probation for a San Francisco robbery conviction, had discovered Bailey's residence. Broussard had worked at the bakery as a handyman and cook between August 2006 and March 2007, before leaving to find other work. He was rehired at the bakery in July 2007.[2]

Assassination[edit]

Broussard then, in a white Ford Aerostar van, began driving around the route he thought Bailey would be taking to work. Broussard insisted that he acted alone, but police believe he had an accomplice in the van. At 7:25 a.m. Broussard spotted Bailey leaving the McDonald's restaurant where Bailey regularly stopped to eat breakfast. Broussard then got out of the van, parked on Alice Street. Wearing a mask and dark clothing, he approached Bailey with the shotgun. A witness said Bailey said: "Please don't kill me." The witness claimed he recognized Bailey, and that he was in trouble, but stopped in his tracks when he saw the shotgun.[6]

As he walked from home to work, Bailey was shot dead around 7:30 a.m. on 14th Street near Alice Street in Oakland's Lakeside Apartments District in what police described as an assassination.[7] Witnesses said the single gunman wearing dark clothing and a ski mask approached Bailey and fired at least three rounds from a shotgun, hitting Bailey at least once in the chest, then fled on foot to a waiting van and drove off.[7][5][8]

The gunman first fired a shotgun blast at Bailey's chest, then stood over him and fired again execution style at Bailey's face while Bailey was down, and then fired a coup de grâce to make sure he was dead. The assassin then escaped in the van.[6] Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene.[5]

Police Chief Wayne Tucker described the killing as "unusual" because it occurred downtown and in broad daylight.[7]

The Mossberg shotgun used in the murder was later identified as one stolen during a liquor store vandalism two years prior suspected to have been committed by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery.[9]

Bailey was survived by his father, three of his four siblings, and his teenage son living in southern California. A funeral mass was held at the East Oakland St. Benedict's Catholic Church on the morning of August 8, 2007, with an overflowing crowd of 700 in attendance, including a line of people outside for more than an hour into the service. Attendees included Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, actress Luenell, assistant dean of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Paul Grabowicz who once worked with Bailey at the Tribune, and well-known local attorney John Burris. Bailey was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in nearby Hayward.[10][11]

Suspects[edit]

Shooter[edit]

Devaughndre Broussard grew up in San Francisco's Western Addition district. The office of the San Francisco District Attorney revealed that in January 2006, at age 18, Broussard plead guilty to an assault charge, and served a first-time offender sentence of one year in San Francisco county jail. Upon release, Broussard was also ordered to three years of supervised probation.[12] In addition to his probation status, he was wanted on an outstanding failure-to-appear warrant for his arrest, charged with a 2006 assault with a firearm in San Francisco.[13]

Police revealed that on the night of August 1, 2007, Broussard first went looking for Bailey at his apartment complex, having discovered Bailey's residence near the south end of Lake Merritt. Early on the next morning of August 2, 2007 Broussard looked for Bailey at his office, but Bailey had not yet arrived.[2] Police revealed that Broussard also went looking for Bailey twice again at his apartment complex that morning. At 7:17 a.m. an AC Transit bus driver may have seen Broussard near Bailey's apartment, standing outside with the shotgun at First Avenue and International Boulevard. The driver called his dispatcher, who reported the incident to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The driver continued on his route, and deputies responded to the location, but could not locate the man in their search.[6]

Yusuf Bey IV[edit]

Yusuf Bey IV
Born Yusuf Bey IV
1986 (age 30–31)
Oakland, California
Occupation Baker
Criminal charge Murder
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
Criminal status Incarcerated

Yusuf Bey IV was born in Oakland in 1986, the son of Daulet and Yusuf Bey, the latter of whom was the founder of the Your Black Muslim Bakery.[14] His life was marred by arrests and accusations of serious crimes.[15]

Bey IV lived a chaotic, violent life before his arrest for participating in the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey.

Yusuf Bey IV grew up in what must have been a turbulent home. His father Yusuf Bey had several children with multiple women, and in 1988, when Bey IV was two, three of the women left the home and took their nine children with them. At the time of his death in 2003, Bey Sr. was said to have fathered 42 children by various women. He had one legal wife, Farieda Bey.[14] Bey's followers and "wives" often took his surname, although no legal adoptions or marriages took place. Bey claimed he had "spiritually" adopted followers who used his name.[16] People who worked for the bakery were considered "members" of the business and the mosque from which the bakery had grown.[17]

Bey IV was arrested in El Cerrito, California, in September 2001 after failing to stop at a stop sign. Police discovered a magazine with bullets in his possession. He was 15 at the time.[14]

Despite years of suspicion and serious brushes with the law, Yusuf Bey Sr. remained uncharged with any wrongdoing until 2002.[18] In that year, he was accused of lewd conduct by a girl who had been a foster child of Nora and Yusuf Bey twenty years earlier. DNA evidence was conclusive enough for prosecutors to schedule a court date, but before the trial could begin, Bey died of cancer.[19] Bey Sr. had spent years preaching Black Muslim sermons on Oakland radio, and the arrest and charge came as a somewhat of a shock to the surrounding community, who regarded the elder Bey as a local hero because of his renowned business, his support for black empowerment, his association with prominent politicians, and his supposed adherence to his Black Muslim faith.[19]

Battle for control of the bakery[edit]

After the death of Bey Sr., Waajid Aljawwaad (who sometimes used the additional last name of Bey), a follower of Bey Sr., became the CEO of the business as Yusuf Bey Sr.'s designated successor. However, on February 27, 2004, Aljawwaad failed to arrive for work at the bakery. His body, bound with electrical tape and wrapped in a tarpaulin, was found in Oakland Hills in July of that year. No one was ever charged with the crime.[19]

Antar Bey, Daulet and Yusuf Bey's son and older brother of Yusuf Bey IV, seized control of the bakery. Antar's half siblings and their mothers protested and fought with him over control of the business, but to no avail; Antar was able to retain control and force them out. He soon took out $700,000 in loans that went into default.[20] But in October 2005, Antar was killed in a carjacking in Oakland. Authorities suspected Yusuf Bey IV of ordering Antar's execution but could not provide proof. Oakland police charged a man unrelated to the bakery with the murder.[19]

After this, Bey IV took full control of the business.

Bakery ownership years (2005–2007)[edit]

Bey IV seemed primarily interested in the profits the bakery earned and the power over the members of the business his father had engendered, not the day-to-day operation of the business. He alternately took money from the business and conducted various fraud operations to support himself and the business before it failed.[19] His father, the bakery and its members had enjoyed years of protection from the media and politicians against bad publicity, investigations and even prosecution, continuing up to the lewd conduct charge against Yusuf Bey Sr.[18]

After the death of his father, gaining control of the bakery and associated security businesses, and triumph over the feuding family members, Bey IV's crimes grew more and more serious. Despite several arrests, he remained free and flouted subpoenas and ignored court dates. His lawyer said at the time, "The view was, 'We're Black Muslims, we can do anything we want.' They got sucked in. I thought it was 'acting out' behavior. But it caused just a whirlwind of trouble."[19]

Bey IV continued his father's practice of delivering fiery Black Muslim sermons to bakery followers. In one videotaped sermon dated to July 2007, Bey IV said, "We fight the government, we fight the police, we fight our own families, we fight our own people, and we fight Caucasian people daily—just to do right."[21]

Some of the crimes Bey IV committed during this period included theft by deception and forgery involving the purchase of several cars; fraudulent sub-prime home loan applications; possession of a firearm after attempting to open a checking account using forged identification; and a bizarre kidnapping and assault on a woman Bey IV believed was connected with drug dealers who owed him money, or whom he could rob.[15]

Criminal record[edit]

Below are some of the charges and arrests for Yusuf Bey IV.

  • In November 2005, Bey IV was charged with grand theft for fraud connected with the purchase of a 2002 Mercedes from a Vallejo car dealership. He used a stolen identity to buy the car and pleaded no contest when the crime was discovered. A Solano County judge allowed him to remain free.[15]
  • That same month, a group of men in suits, presumably led by Bey IV, stormed two Muslim-owned stores that sold liquor. The men destroyed wine in cases and groceries. Bey IV later claimed, "If you say you're a Muslim, you should have the action of a Muslim," and that alcohol was "killing our people".[19]
  • In 2006, Bey IV was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after he tried to run over the bouncer of a San Francisco strip club from which he'd been ejected.[15]
  • In June 2006, Bey IV purchased a home in Oakland using falsified information. The sub-prime loan involved a first and second mortgage, and investigators later theorized the motive was to obtain money from the home's equity. The loan went into default in October. Bey IV used his own Social Security number but a driver's license with a falsified name for the loan paperwork.[15] Later, investigators discovered that Bey IV and his associates had purchased a total of five homes, most of which were in default.[19]
  • That same month, Bey IV and some associates used false information to buy three cars from a San Bruno dealership, which later resulted in charges of grand theft. Bey IV used the same name to purchase the cars that he had used to purchase the house in Oakland.[15][19] One of the accomplices later said he could not remember using a false name or several other details of the fraudulent car purchase or the liquor store vandalism, in which he also allegedly participated.[22]
  • In May 2007, Bey IV and four men kidnapped a woman and took her to the home of Bey's brother-in-law. The men beat the blindfolded woman and demanded money supposedly owed to Bey IV. While the crime was in progress, police saw a Crown Victoria, a car often used by police, outside the house and grew suspicious.[19] Police went to the door and the men fled on foot, leaving their cars behind. The police confiscated the vehicles as evidence and Joshua Bey, Bey IV's half-brother, was arrested. Since the arrest, Bey IV has alternately admitted and denied various aspects of this crime.[15][23]
  • Bey IV wanted Alfonza Phillips Sr., the father of the man who killed Antar Bey, executed. But because Bey IV's accomplice Devaughndre Broussard could not find Phillips, Bey IV told him to kill another relative of the carjacker, Odell Roberson.[24] In July 2007, Broussard, who was 19, found Roberson. Antoine Mackey, another member of the bakery, handed him a rifle, and Broussard shot the unarmed man. He said at trial that he had fired eight or ten rounds and carried out the murder "because Yusuf Bey IV told me to".[25]
  • Later in 2007, Bey IV, Antoine Mackey and Devaughndre Broussard were driving around Oakland discussing the "Zebra" murders. Bey IV or Broussard saw Michael Wills, a white man who worked as a chef, returning to work on foot after purchasing a pack of cigarettes. Bey IV and his accomplices discussed who should kill Wills and Mackey volunteered. He got out of the car and shot Wills six times. The three left the scene and returned to the bakery compound.[20][23]

Investigation and trial for murder[edit]

On the day of the killing Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland offered up to $25,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

Beginning early at 5 a.m. on the following morning of August 3, 2007, more than 200 Oakland police officers and SWAT team members armed with search warrants closed off a number of blocks of San Pablo Avenue, a major thoroughfare in North Oakland. The area of focus included homes and the business properties of Your Black Muslim Bakery, which operated two business locations on either side of the street between Stanford Avenue and 59th Street. The group is a Black Muslim splinter organization founded by Yusuf Bey, and now led by his son Yusuf Bey IV. The pre-dawn raids followed a two-month investigation into a variety of violent crimes, including kidnapping and murder. Police used stun grenades and broke down doors to gain entry. In a news conference later that day, Oakland Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan said that several weapons and other evidence of value linked the killing of Chauncey Bailey to members of the group.[1] Police also recovered spent ammunition from the rooftops, and detained 19 people for questioning.[2]

In addition to the bakeries, the police also raided nearby homes. In the 1000 block of 59th Street, police recovered, from a closet,[3] the shotgun used in the killing of Bailey at the home where Broussard was also detained. The rear yard of the home connected directly to the bakery property.[13] Police also raided a home in the 900 block of Aileen Street a few blocks east of the bakery.[2] Of the 19 detainees on that morning, five were arrested along with Broussard, and Yusuf Bey IV, on probable cause arrest warrants, along with other outstanding arrest warrants, stemming from the prior investigations.[2]

Broussard was booked on suspicion of murder on August 4, 2007, for the killing of Bailey, having told police detectives that he considered himself "a good soldier". Though other charges were made against those arrested, none of them were charged with Bailey's murder.[13] On August 7 Broussard was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court, on charges of murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.[12]

Broussard initially confessed to killing Bailey, then recanted his confession. In a 2008 60 Minutes interview, Broussard claimed he was coerced by Yusuf Bey IV to plead guilty for the benefit of the bakery and others arrested.[26] In an interview for CBS News, Broussard said that the Oakland Police put him and Bey IV together in a room, and that Bey IV convinced him to plead guilty for the purpose of releasing other murder suspects.[27] He later pled guilty to manslaughter charges in exchange for a 25-year sentence and full testimony at the trial of Bey IV and others.[28]

In June 2008 a videotape of Bey IV in custody whispering to his half-brother Joshua Bey and another bakery associate, Tamon Halfin, and disclosing details of Bailey's murder was obtained and posted by the Chauncey Bailey Project.[29] Journalists from the Chauncey Bailey Project created a transcription of the conversation which seemed to indicate Bey was involved in Bailey's murder.

A grand jury indicted Bey IV with ordering the execution of Chauncey Bailey in April 2009, almost two years after the murder.[30]

Broussard testified for the prosecution at the trial of Bey IV and Antoine Mackey in 2011. He stated in court that Bey ordered him to find, track and kill Bailey before the journalist could print his latest article on the bakery.[28]

On June 9, 2011 Bey IV and Mackey were both convicted by a trial jury of multiple counts of murder[31] and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[32] Yusuf Bey IV was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.[33]

In 2013 Bey's attorney, Lorna Brown, was convicted of smuggling documents out of jail for him. One of the documents, a hit list ordering an associate to kill a witness, was intercepted by police before the associate could carry out the murder.[34] In 2015, a state appeals court upheld the convictions of Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey.[35]

Bey IV also threatened former bakery followers to intimidate them from testifying against him. Based on recorded calls between Bey IV and follower Kahlil Raheem, Bey first cajoled and then warned Raheem not to testify against him.[36] As the trial progressed, allegations of intimidation by Bey IV and other former bakery members persisted. The Contra Costa Times editorialized on April 30, 2011, that the intimidation must stop and that the judge, Thomas Reardon, along with bailiffs and the sheriff should get control of the trial to allow justice to be done.[37] Some witnesses called to testify changed their story from the original information they gave the police or said they did not remember what happened. A man who worked at the convenience store that Bey IV allegedly attacked with his followers said he did not remember over 50 times at trial.[38] Even Broussard testified later that he does not remember Bey IV giving him specific orders to kill Odell Roberson or Chauncey Bailey.[39]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Police Link Bailey Homicide To Black Muslim Group". KTVU News. 2007-08-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Harry Harris; Kristin Bender & Kelly Rayburn (2007-08-04). "Cops: Editor's killer confesses". The Oakland Tribune. 
  3. ^ a b c d Josh Richman (2007-08-07). "Slain editor's bakery source surfaces". The Oakland Tribune. 
  4. ^ Angela Hill & Josh Richman (2007-08-04). "Esteemed enterprise spirals out of control". The Oakland Tribune. 
  5. ^ a b c d Harry Harris & Angela Hill (2007-08-03). "Prominent journalist shot dead in street". The Oakland Tribune. 
  6. ^ a b c Harry Harris & Martin G. Reynolds (2007-08-08). "Cops: Killer 'stalked' editor prior to ambush". The Oakland Tribune. 
  7. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference sfgate was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference ktvu was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Jaxon Van Derbeken (2007-10-05). "Trail of the shotgun in editor's slaying". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^ Kristin Bender (2007-08-07). "Oakland newsman Bailey to be laid to rest Wednesday". The Oakland Tribune. 
  11. ^ Angela Hill; Jamaal Johnson & Cecily Burt (2007-08-09). "Hundreds mourn Bailey". The Oakland Tribune. 
  12. ^ a b Harry Harris; Paul T. Rosynsky (2007-08-08). "Bakery leader, cohorts charged". The Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  13. ^ a b c Angela Hill & Harry Harris (2007-08-05). "Confessed killer: I'm 'a good soldier'". The Oakland Tribune. 
  14. ^ a b c Mary Fricker; Bob Butler & Thomas Peele (August 2, 2009). "Yusuf Bey IV grew up in prominent yet troubled bakery". The Chauncey Bailey Project. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Josh Richman (2007-10-19). "Bey IV's rap sheet spans wide range of criminal charges". Oakland Tribune. 
  16. ^ Chris Thompson (July 31, 2007). "The Killing of a Journalist". The Village Voice. 
  17. ^ Bob Butler & Thomas Peele (2008-03-25). "Police reopen 68 case similar to Bailey slaying". Oakland Tribune. 
  18. ^ a b Chris Thompson (November 22, 2002). "How Official Oakland Kept the Bey Empire Going: Blood & Money, Part Two: The Influence". East Bay Express. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Erin McCormick & Jaxon Van Derbeken (October 8, 2007). "A Father's Fiefdom Reduced To Ruin". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  20. ^ a b Bob Butler (March 23, 2011). "Chauncey Bailey Murder Trial, Day One". WordPress. 
  21. ^ Jaxon Van Derbeken (January 29, 2008). "Bey IV speeches a month before Bailey killed". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  22. ^ Thomas Peele (April 28, 2011). "Reluctant witnesses take the stand in Chauncey Bailey trial". The Chauncey Bailey Project. 
  23. ^ a b Unsigned (October 25, 2008). "Bey IV run-ins with the law". The Chauncey Bailey Project. 
  24. ^ Thomas Peele (April 12, 2011). "Your Black Muslim Bakery leader had Chauncey Bailey killed, bakery follower testifies". Oakland Tribune. 
  25. ^ Thomas Peele (March 28, 2011). "Broussard bursts into laughter describing 2007 slaying". The Chauncey Bailey Project. 
  26. ^ Cooper, Anderson & Broussard, Devaughndre (March 10, 2011). "Transcript: Devaughndre Broussard Interview (Anderson Cooper)". 60 Minutes. CBSNews. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  27. ^ "Transcript: Devaughndre Broussard Interview". CBS News. 
  28. ^ a b Lee, Henry K. (March 28, 2011). "Chauncey Bailey shooter laughed at killings". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  29. ^ Thomas Peele, Bob Butler, Mary Fricker and Josh Richman (June 18, 2008). "Secret video raises questions about bakery leader's role in Bailey killing". East Bay Times. 
  30. ^ "Leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery indicted in journalist’s slaying". Religion News Blog. April 30, 2009. 
  31. ^ Lee, Henry K. (June 9, 2011). "Your Black Muslim Bakery leader guilty of murder". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  32. ^ Anthony, Laura (August 26, 2011). "Two men sentenced to life in prison in Chauncey Bailey murder case". KGO-TV. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  33. ^ Thomas Peele. "Former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV guilty for murdering Chauncey Bailey". Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  34. ^ Peele, Thomas (July 15, 2013). "Judge calls for four-year suspension for lawyer who admitted smuggling documents for Yusuf Bey IV". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  35. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/2-lose-appeal-in-killing-of-Oakland-journalist-6018383.php
  36. ^ Thomas Peele (August 25, 2009). "Bey IV tried to strong-arm follower, recordings reveal". The Chauncey Bailey Project. 
  37. ^ Editorial Board (April 30, 2011). "Contra Costa Times editorial: Judge, sheriff and bailiffs must stop witness intimidation in Bey trial". Contra Costa Times. 
  38. ^ Thomas Peele (April 5, 2011). "Bailey witness can't remember specific 'kill' order from Yusuf Bey IV". San Jose Mercury News. 
  39. ^ Thomas Peele (May 2, 2011). "Another Bailey slaying trial witness has memory problems". Oakland Tribune. 

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