Yusuf Bey IV pleads no contest

July 30, 2008 12:55:42 PM PDT
Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV pleaded no contest Wednesday to eight felony counts in connection with vandalism incidents at two West Oakland liquor stores on Nov. 23, 2005.

Bey entered his plea to charges of vandalism, false imprisonment, civil rights violations and hate crimes in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman Wednesday morning, just before a trial against him and one remaining co-defendant in the case was to begin.

That co-defendant, 21-year-old Dyamen Williams, pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of vandalism and will face up to one year in Alameda County jail when he's sentenced by Goodman on Oct. 17.

Prosecutor Matt Wendt said a plea agreement calls for Bey, 22, the son of bakery founder Yusuf Bey, to receive a three-year state prison term when he is sentenced on Jan. 5.

But Bey's lawyer, Ted Johnson, said he will ask that Bey's sentencing in the vandalism case be postponed until after the conclusion of another case against him.

In that case, Bey and three bakery associates are accused of kidnapping and torturing two women in Oakland on May 17, 2007.

The preliminary hearing in that case is expected to conclude on Aug. 8.

Initially, a total of eight adult defendants, plus one juvenile, were charged with multiple counts of felony vandalism, false imprisonment and hate crimes in connection with the vandalism incidents at the New York Market at 3446 Market St. and the San Pablo Liquor Store at 2363 San Pablo Ave.

The hate crime allegations against the defendants stem from allegations that they asked the clerks at the liquor stores why a Muslim-owned business would sell liquor when it's against the teachings of Islam to do so.

Two defendants, Tamon Halfin and another bakery associate, James Watts, pleaded no contest to felony vandalism in 2006 and were sentenced to five years' probation. Charges were dropped against two other defendants because of a lack of evidence.

Halfin is accused of participating with Bey in the 2007 kidnapping incident after he was placed on probation.

On Monday, Kahlil Raheem, 27, and Donald Cunningham, 73, pleaded no contest to one count of vandalism each.

Cunningham, who also pleaded no contest to a hate crime enhancement, could get probation when he's sentenced on Sept. 26.

But Raheem may not be sentenced for several years, as his plea agreement with the district attorney's office calls for him to testify truthfully at a preliminary hearing for Bey and three other defendants in the kidnapping and torturing case.

Raheem isn't accused in connection with the kidnapping case but prosecutors want him to testify, alleging that he drove the defendants after the incident.

A judge found Raheem in contempt of court for refusing to testify at a hearing on April 4 but declined to throw him in jail, hoping that Raheem will testify at a later date.

Raheem's plea agreement in the vandalism case calls for him to get five years' probation if he testifies truthfully in the kidnapping case.

After Bey entered his plea today, Johnson said, "The disposition of the case was fair but I wish that it was better."

Johnson said, "It was a vandalism case, but I don't believe it was a hate crime."

He said, "The district attorney took a strong position and we were hard-pressed. I thought it was in our best interest not to go to trial."

Johnson said he thought the case was "over-charged" and Bey could have faced a much stiffer sentence if he'd been convicted after a trial.


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