Update 2:15 p.m. Here’s a report from Thomas Peele of the Chauncey Bailey Project that goes into the long history of the case and gives some background on both Chauncey Bailey and the group of journalists who came together after his murder to report on the story. Last month, Peele gave us a primer on the case, which you can listen to here.
Update 4:43 p.m.
Gary Sirbu, defense attorney for Antoine Mackey, calls Mackey courageous and likeable
(Bay City News) Former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was convicted today of three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
Bakery associate Antoine Mackey was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, but jurors deadlocked on a third murder charge against him. A mistrial was declared on that charge.
The seven-woman, five-man panel delivered its verdict against Bey and Mackey, both 25, after deliberating for 10 days.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors in her closing argument last month that Bey ordered the three men murdered because of financial pressure, revenge and racial hatred.
Krum said Bey ordered the killing of Bailey, 57, to prevent him from writing an article about the bakery’s financial problems.
The bakery was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when Bailey was gunned down near the corner of 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007, and closed its doors later that year.
Krum said Bey was also upset at Bailey for writing articles about the child molestation charges that his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was facing at the time of his death at age 67 in 2003.
The prosecutor said Bey ordered that Odell Roberson Jr., 31, be killed on July 8, 2007, because Roberson was the uncle of the man who was convicted of murdering Bey’s brother, Antar Bey, in 2005.
Krum said Bey also ordered that the third victim, 36-year-old Michael Wills, be killed on July 12, 2007, because he was inspired by the “Zebra Killers,” a group of black men who killed white people in San Francisco in the early 1970s.
Bey and Mackey are black and Wills was white.
The prosecution’s key witness in the case was bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 23, who admitted during the trial that he fatally shot Bailey and Roberson, but said he did so because Bey ordered him to.
Broussard also implicated Mackey in all three murders, saying Mackey killed Wills at Bey’s direction and participated in the fatal shootings of Bailey and Roberson.
Broussard had been charged with two counts of murder, but prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to two counts of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Bey and Mackey.
Broussard could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole, but his plea agreement calls for him to receive a 25-year state prison term.
Defense lawyers Gene Peretti, who represents Bey, and Gary Sirbu, who represents Mackey, said in their closing arguments that their clients should be found not guilty because Broussard’s testimony is unreliable, as he gave several different versions of what happened when Bailey was killed.
But Krum said that although Broussard is an admitted killer and wasn’t a model witness, she thinks jurors can believe him because other evidence in the case — such as guns and bullets that were recovered by police — corroborates his testimony.
Krum admitted in her closing argument that Broussard got a favorable deal with prosecutors, but she said, “Sometimes you’ve got to make a deal with the demon in order to get the devil.”
Bey was convicted of first-degree murder for all three fatal shootings.
Mackey was convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of Bailey and Wills but jurors deadlocked on a murder charge he faced for the death of Roberson.
Both men were also convicted of the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.
They face life in prison without the possibility of parole when they’re sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on July 8.
Bay City News