Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your Black Muslim Bakery leader has been sentenced to life in prison

More than four years after journalist Chauncey Bailey was gunned down in broad daylight on a downtown Oakland street, the man who ordered him and two others killed has been sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. Yusuf Bey IV, 25, denied that he had ordered the killings. Bey's sentencing was a final act of sorts for Your Black Muslim Bakery, the black group that his father formed in Oakland in the 1960s. At its height, the group aspired to promote healthful dietary habits in the African American community and recruit local blacks, mostly men, for positions of responsibility. By the time he died of cancer in 2003, however, bakery founder Yusuf Bey Sr. was fighting off charges that he had preyed sexually on young girls. A pattern of thuggery marked the subsequent power struggle won by Bey IV, who a jury concluded had ordered Bailey's killing to silence his reporting on the bakery's unraveling. Bey was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for ordering the slayings of Bailey, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills. A co-defendant, former bakery member Antoine Mackey, 25, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Bailey and Wills and was also sentenced to life in prison without parole. Both men were convicted of the special circumstance of multiple murder. Prosecutors said that Bey had targeted Bailey because the journalist was close to publishing his unflattering stories about the bakery. Bailey was killed by three shotgun blasts as he walked to work in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007. The other killings were less political in nature. Roberson, 31, was the uncle of a man who had killed Bey's brother in a botched 2005 carjacking in North Oakland, and Wills, 36, was slain simply because he was white, the prosecution said. Both were shot to death in July 2007. Previously, former bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard had been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for killing Bailey and Roberson. Broussard testified against Bey and Mackey as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. The organization disbanded shortly after the arrests of Bey and other members in the days after Bailey's killing. Bey still faces kidnapping charges for abducting a woman and a daughter in hopes of finding where a drug dealer kept his cash.

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