Chauncey Bailey Project

Lawyer delays entering plea in case about Oakland editor

LeRue Grim talks to reporters at the courthouse April 21, 2009 (Ray Chavez/MediaNews)
LeRue Grim talks to reporters at the courthouse April 21, 2009 (Ray Chavez/MediaNews)

LeRue Grim talks to reporters at the courthouse April 21, 2009 (Ray Chavez/MediaNews)

By Paul T. Rosynsky, Chauncey Bailey Project

 

OAKLAND — Devaughndre Broussard, the Your Black Muslim Bakery handyman accused of killing a journalist, failed to enter a plea Thursday as his attorney asked for more time to investigate the case. LeRue Grim, Broussard’s attorney, said he wants the case to proceed slowly because it has been full of surprises that might prove his client’s innocence.

“This is a very serious case and I want to be careful,” Grim said outside of court. “Things keep happening in the case, which encourages me to go slow.”

Broussard is accused of using a shotgun to kill Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey as the journalist walked to work in downtown Oakland. Police said Broussard confessed to the killing less than 48 hours after Bailey was shot down Aug. 2.

But Grim claims Broussard’s confession was false and ordered by Yusuf Bey IV, the bakery leader who was angry at Bailey for writing stories about the bakery’s troubled finances and a family feud.

Bey IV, his brother Joshua Bey and bakery member Tamon Halfin were arrested at the same time as Broussard on suspicion of kidnapping and torturing two women in May.

Bey IV and Halfin also were later charged with dozens of felony crimes in two separate real estate fraud cases. In those cases, the two bakery members are accused of stealing identities and using fake drivers licenses to secure millions of dollars in home loans.

Bey IV, Halfin and Joshua Bey all pleaded not guilty to charges levied against them. All three are due back in court Oct. 16.

Grim has focused much of his attention on a conversation between Broussard and Bey IV that occurred at the police station after the two were arrested.

Police say they allowed Bey IV, 21, and Broussard, 19, to talk privately in a police interrogation room before Broussard confessed to the killing.

Grim continued to make a public case Thursday that his client was framed and revealed new details about what bakery members were doing after Bailey was killed.

“There was a celebration at the bakery,” Grim said. “They were all joking and talking about how the police would never figure it out.

“But then they began to talk about who was going to take it,” Grim continued.

Grim said eventually other bakery members pointed to Broussard and said he would have to take the fall.

At that point, Grim said, Bey IV gave Broussard the shotgun police said was used to kill Bailey and told the handyman to hide it. The gun also has been connected to a failed assassination attempt of John Bey, a former high-ranking official with the bakery, police said.

When police raided Broussard’s apartment Aug. 3, they saw him throw the shotgun out the window.

Grim also said Broussard told him that Bey IV had run into him as both were going to meet visitors at Santa Rita jail. At that point, Grim said, Bey IV apologized to Broussard for putting him in this position.

“Yusuf IV said he was doing exactly what the police coached him to do,” Grim said. “He said he would come to court and straighten everything out.”

Despite Grim’s details about what other bakery members were doing, he could not say where his client was the morning Bailey was shot.

“I’m not sure,” Grim said. “I never asked him.”

Grim also said he wants to look at police files, which he will receive through discovery, to see if his client’s stories are in line with the evidence the police have found.

“Cases are unpredictable,” Grim said. “This case has had surprises.”

One such surprise came late in the day when Grim claimed he was given the tape recording of Broussard’s confession, in which Grim said his client asked for an attorney.

“They read him his rights and then said, ‘Having these rights in mind do you want to talk to us?’ Mr. Broussard said, ‘I want an attorney,'” Grim said. “There is a long pause and the officer says, ‘What was your answer?

“Mr. Broussard responded, ‘I want an attorney,'” Grim continued.

At that point, Grim said, the tape was shut off. It was then turned back on, and Broussard began confessing to the killing.

But police said the tape Grim was referring to was an interview the district attorney’s office sought with Broussard after the 19-year-old confessed to police.

Police protocol calls for detectives to contact the district attorneys’ office as soon as they have a confession. An on-call attorney is then summoned to the police station to conduct a second interview.

In the case of Broussard, when the district attorney arrived and began the interview, Broussard asked for an attorney.

“He never asked for an attorney with us. Never,” said Sgt. Derwin Longmire who conducted the police interview.

Lt. Ersie Joyner, who leads the police department’s homicide division, said he listened to the confession after Grim made his claim.

“I just listened to the tape again, there is nothing like that there, it just did not happen.”

Grim did not return follow-up phone calls seeking comment.

Broussard is due back in court Oct. 18 to enter a plea.

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