OAKLAND, Calif. — Two men indicted in the killing of an Oakland journalist and two other men joked as they planned the crimes then hugged after the journalist was killed, according to grand jury testimony.
Devaughndre Broussard confessed to shooting journalist Chauncey Bailey in August 2007 and Odell Roberson Jr. a month earlier, according to the testimony, which a judge ordered to be released last Thursday.
Broussard’s April testimony led to the indictment of Yusuf Bey IV, former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, and bakery associate Antoine Mackey.
Bey and Mackey have pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of Bailey, Roberson and a third man, Michael Wills.
Broussard struck a deal with prosecutors to cooperate in exchange for a 25-year prison sentence.
His testimony provides chilling insight into the discussions and planning that preceded Bailey’s shooting.
After doing a run-through of the plan, Broussard testified, he went back to the bakery with Bey and Mackey. That day, Bey gave him a shotgun to use during the killing, he said.
“When this get done, we’re going to have a laugh,” Broussard quoted Bey in his testimony.
Then they hugged, and Bey allegedly said, “Wake me up before you go.” The shooting was planned for the early morning, as Bailey was heading to work at the Oakland Post in downtown Oakland.
Bailey had been investigating the bakery’s financial problems and planned to write a story.
“You got to take Chauncey Bailey out before he write that article,” Bey said, according to Broussard’s testimony.
The bakery, founded almost 40 years ago by Bey’s father, became an institution in Oakland’s black community. They ran a security service, a school and other businesses, but in recent years had become marred by connections to criminal activity.
“This is going to be big,” Bey said of Bailey’s killing, according to the court document.
Attorneys for Bey and Mackey warned that Broussard had not been cross-examined. The admitted shooter’s account should be taken “very cautiously,” said Mackey’s lawyer, Gary Sirbu.
“This was a closed proceeding and there was no way to test his credibility, to test his inconsistent statements,” Sirbu said.
Lorna Brown, one of Bey’s two lawyers, said she is concerned that Bey is being tried in the media and not in court.
“I believe my client is innocent, and I will do the best I can to defend him and make sure he has a fair trial,” Brown said.
Broussard’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Broussard testified that he was dressed in black and wore a mask when he shot a stunned Bailey on a downtown street in daylight. Broussard said he had already shot Bailey twice when he recalled how Bey had preached about being focused during the attack.
“I’m like, let me make sure,” Broussard said. “I ran back, pointed at his head … ‘Bam!,’ and I broke.”
Broussard testified that he and Mackey, who allegedly drove the getaway car, told Bey the murder was a “done deal.”
Later, Broussard said, Bey asked, “So, what do his inside look like?”
Together, all three men drove by the crime scene, and Bey congratulated them on the job, Broussard testified.
“He gave me a hug. He gave Mackey a hug,” Broussard said. “He go, ‘I love y’all.’”
Police raided the bakery the day after Bailey’s killing.
Later, Bey told detectives Broussard was the shooter, according to Broussard’s testimony.
Bey told Broussard he had to take the fall to prove his Islamic faith, Broussard testified.
“I felt betrayed. I felt betrayed because of everything — everything I did for the bakery,” Broussard testified. “I am talking about the hours I put in, the work I put in, the effort I showed. I’m like, it come down to this?”
The 800-page transcript was released at the request of the Chauncey Bailey Project, a group of journalists who have written about the murder. Judge Morris Jacobson also lifted the gag order imposed on the case.
The judge said he expects the trial to take place in early 2010. Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.