Contradictions from the Bailey Trial

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Bob Butler
June 15, 2011

Last week’s convictions for the killing of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men was the result of nearly four years of investigative work by a collaboration of Bailey’s colleagues.

For the journalists of the Chauncey Bailey Project, there were very few surprises during the trial of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, convicted of ordering all three deaths, and bakery associate Antoine Mackey, convicted of killing Michael Wills and helping Broussard kill Bailey.

But a few things stood out that should be of note to the media.

Devaugndre Broussard, 23, the man who actually killed Bailey and Odell Roberson, presented several contradictions during his testimony.

“For instance I would read something in his jail mail where he had written to some girl about, ‘make sure you stay in school because your looks only last so long and your education lasts forever,’ said deputy district attorney Melissa Krum.

“Yet here’s a guy who dropped out of high school but continues to read all types of scholarly types of things and this is an absolutely stone-cold killer with absolutely no conscience and incredibly good manners and then you would see him on the stand laughing about a murder and it would just take your breath away.”

While the media has reported he showed no remorse and laughed about the killing of Roberson, Broussard’s matter-of-fact testimony revealed he had a moral compass about some things.

Krum: “When did you see Roberson?”

Broussard: “I seen him as he was turning from 60th onto Herzog. He asked me if I had some work (drugs). I was like, ‘yeah, I got you. Come on.’”

Krum: “Why did you say ‘come on’?”

Broussard: “Because I was going to shoot him!”

He describes how he got the gun from Bey IV’s co-defendant Mackey.

Broussard: “I held it (the gun), turned the safety off and turned toward Odell.” 

He then began laughing hysterically.

Krum: “Why are you laughing?”

Broussard: “Because he (Roberson) tried to run.”

The media and the defense attorneys point to that laughter as evidence that Broussard was a sociopath, a cold-blooded murderer. And Broussard admitted he had no remorse over killing Roberson or Bailey.

“They didn’t mean nothing to me,” he said.

Bailey’s brother, Errol Cooley, was disturbed by the callousness of Broussard’s statement.

“I just can’t believe he described how he killed him like it was no big deal, like he was shooting at a dog or an animal or something, more so than a human being,” he said.

But the media missed one piece of his testimony that contradicts his persona as a no conscience, cold-blooded killer.

Krum was asking Broussard why he never took a Muslim name when he began to work at the bakery.

“I understand your name defined who you are,” responded Broussard. “Most of the names represent righteousness and I couldn’t live up to a righteous name.”

Krum: “Why not?”

Broussard: “Because I haven’t been living a righteous life. I got hella flaws and I was doing dirt.”

It was also instructive to learn why Broussard decided to plead guilty and testify for the prosecution.

During his testimony Broussard said Bey IV promised to get him an attorney if he would admit to killing Bailey. Project reporters know from listening to jail telephones calls that he asked Bey IV’s family several times when he was going to get the attorney that “Yusuf promised.”

In the end, Broussard said he felt abandoned by the bakery and that “nobody came to holla” (sic) at him in jail so he decided, “I had to do for myself.”

Krum is thankful for that.

“If Bey had followed through and gotten and attorney for Broussard, we likely would never have solved the Wills and Roberson murders and the bakery would probably still be open,” said Krum.

Broussard also described Bey IV as a “kind dude. He was generous” for giving food to Odell Roberson, the uncle of the man accused of killing Bey IV’s brother in 2005.

Bey IV’s defense attorney Gene Peretti accused Broussard of making up stories to take revenge on Bey IV.

Peretti: “You’re getting back at him now aren’t you?”

“Yes I am,” said Broussard with a wide smile.

There is no question Broussard has some problems. Krum said she told Broussard that there was something wrong with him and he agreed.

He killed two people because, he says, Bey IV offered him a credit hook-up that would allow him to apply for loans “that you never have to pay back.”

For pleading guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and his testimony against Bey IV and Mackey, Broussard will be sentenced on August 12 to 25 years in state prison. He will be eligible for parole when he is 40 years old.

Bey IV and Mackey will be sentenced July 8th. They will each spend the rest of their lives in prison with no possibility of ever getting out.



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