Bakery member convicted of kidnapping, torture

April 7, 2010 2:45:46 PM PDT
A member of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland was convicted today of kidnapping, torture and carjacking charges stemming from the abduction of two women three years ago in what prosecutors said was an attempt to get money to save the bakery from bankruptcy.

Richard Lewis, 26, faces life in prison for the May 17, 2007, incident when he's sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on June 4.

Lewis, who was guarded by six bailiffs, put his hands over his face and bowed his head while the jury's verdict was read.

Prosecutor Chris Lamiero told jurors in his closing argument last week that Lewis joined bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and several other bakery associates in kidnapping and torturing the two women, a mother and a daughter, so they would reveal where a drug dealer they knew kept his cash.

Lamiero said Lewis, a former football star at Mission High School in San Francisco, cut the daughter with a knife and threatened her with a hot curling iron if she didn't disclose where the dealer kept his money.

The woman testified that a bag was placed over her head and that she feared for her life.

Lewis testified last week that he didn't have anything to do with the crime.

When his attorney, Patrick Hetrick, asked him where he was that night, Lewis said, "I was most likely at the bakery at the time."

Hetrick said in his closing argument that Lewis was framed by Bey's half-brothers, Joshua Bey and Yusuf Bey V, who have pleaded guilty and received promises of light sentences in exchange for testifying against Lewis.

Hetrick told jurors that they shouldn't believe the half-brothers' testimony because they were simply trying to save themselves by incriminating Lewis.

Lewis is the first bakery member to stand trial in the kidnapping and torture case.

Bey IV and Tamon Halfin, another bakery associate, are slated to be tried together at a later date. They also face life in prison if they're convicted.

But before Bey IV stands trial in the kidnapping and torture case, he is first scheduled to stand trial May 17 on three counts of murder stemming from the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in July and August of 2007.

The bakery went bankrupt and closed its doors in late 2007.

The kidnapping and torture occurred only 15 days after a San Francisco jury acquitted Lewis of murder, attempted murder and robbery charges stemming from a March 1, 2005, shooting in the 1800 block of 18th Avenue in the city's Sunset District.

Lewis had been in custody for two years but was released after he was acquitted. He met Bey IV while he was in custody.


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