Suspect in Bailey’s death enters not-guilty plea
Devaughndre Broussard tells court he didn’t slay Oakland journalist.
By Thomas Peele and Bob Butler, Chauncey Bailey Project
Devaughndre M. Broussard pleaded not guilty Thursday to the Aug. 2 shotgun death of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, the first American journalist killed for his work since 1976.
During a brief appearance in Alameda County Superior Court shortly after noon, Broussard entered pleas to two felony charges: Bailey’s killing and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 6.
Oakland police allege Broussard, then an employee of Your Black Muslim Bakery, killed Bailey with three blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun because Bailey was working on a story about the troubled bakery’s bankruptcy case.
Broussard confessed to the shooting the next day but then recanted. His attorney claims that bakery leader Yusef Ali Bey IV ordered Broussard, during a conversation police arranged but failed to record, to make the confession to protect others.
Broussard, 20, dressed in a bright red jail jump suit and shackled at his hands and feet, was clutching a thick paperback book when deputies lead him into Judge Morris Jackson’s nearly empty courtroom and seated him alone in the jury box Thursday morning.
“Not guilty,” he said in a loud, clear voice a few minutes later when a clerk read the charges against him. He conferred briefly with his attorney, LeRue Grim, and was led back to jail, where he is being held in protective custody.
Audio: Devaughndre Broussard pleads not guilty to charges he murdered editor Chauncey Bailey
Also Thursday, Broussard waived his right to a speedy trial. Prosecutor Christopher A. Lamiero said he would be surprised if a trial started within six months.
“There are some discovery issues,” he said, referring to the process through which prosecutors must share evidence with the defense.
Grim has requested a large amount of information from other cases in which Bey IV and several bakery associates face unrelated charges, including kidnapping and torture, Lamiero said.
Grim said he believed that there is information in those cases about Bey IV and others “that could exonerate my guy.”
Bailey, 57, was the first American journalist allegedly killed over his work since an Arizona Republic investigative reporter, Don Bowles, died from wounds suffered in a car bombing in 1976. Bailey had formerly worked for the Hartford Courant, the Detroit Free Press, the Oakland Tribune and several television stations.
Thomas Peele is an investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Contact him at 208-6458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chauncey Bailey Project reporter Bob Butler contributed to this report. Butler produced this story as a 2007-08 fellow of the George Washington Williams Fellowship, a program sponsored by New Voices in Independent Journalism.