Prosecutors make closing arguments in Bailey murder trial

May 18, 2011 6:56:59 PM PDT
The fate of two men accused of murdering Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey could soon be in the hands of a jury. Prosecutors made their closing arguments on Wednesday. Defense attorneys are expected to make theirs on Thursday.

Prosecutors say an act of liquor store vandalism on Nov. 23, 2005 was the first of many desperate attempts by Yusuf Bey IV to save Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery. It was just a month after Bey took charge of the family business.

District Attorney Melissa Krum told the jury in her closing arguments, from then on, it only got worse. She said, "He runs it into the ground by establishing a criminal enterprise that makes it its business to terrorize the citizens of Oakland."

"They're just a whole bunch of thugs. A whole bunch of hoodlums that was trying to strong-arm people," Errol Cooley, Bailey's brother.

Bailey, an Oakland Post editor, had already published stories about molestation charges Yusuf Bey Sr. faced at the time of his death. When the younger Bey learned Bailey planned another story on the bakery's pending bankruptcy, prosecutors say two days later, Bailey was shot dead.

And Krum said, "[Bailey is] silenced forever so that he doesn't write something that ruins Mr. Bey's chances of keeping the bakery alive."

"The closing argument is almost identical to her opening statement so, so far we haven't seen any surprises," said Gene Peretti, Bey IV's lawyer.

Lawyers for Bey and Antione Mackey -- the bakery associate accused of driving the getaway car -- will make their case Thursday. They say the district attorney's star witness lied on the stand.

The district attorney conceded to the jury that Bailey's admitted shooter, Devaughndre Broussard, repeatedly changed his story, but she said evidence proves Bey IV ordered Bailey's hit.

Part of the evidence includes a secret police recording where Bey laughs about Bailey being shot in the head, a GPS tracking device that puts a bakery car at Bailey's house the night before he died, cell phone records showing Mackey called Bey minutes after Bailey was shoot, and bullet shells found in Bey's bedroom that matched the gun used to kill Bailey.

"Yusuf Bey believed he was above the law. He acted like it. He talked like it... He ran this city according to his rules," said Krum.

"If people who are writing articles can't really speak about the truth then we have nothing," said Cooley.


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