Broussard bursts into laughter describing 2007 slaying
OAKLAND — The main witness in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial recounted in chilling detail Monday what he said were murders of two men in July 2007 and how he later hunted Bailey before assassinating the journalist on a street corner, allegedly at the order of Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV.
Devaughndre Broussard’s testimony gave the jury its first glimpse into the reasons he said were behind the Aug. 2, 2007, slaying of Bailey: Bey IV ordered the killing to stop the Oakland Post editor from writing a story about financial problems at the bakery.
“He wanted us to kill him,” Broussard said of himself and fellow bakery member Antoine Mackey, who is being tried for the murders alongside Bey IV. “He was concerned about what he was writing.”
Broussard said he learned who Bailey was just two days before killing the journalist — to which he has pleaded guilty — when Bey IV showed bakery members a tape of the 2003 funeral of his father, Yusuf Bey.
Bey IV saw Bailey on the tape, paused it, and said “that’s (the expletive) who killed my dad,” Broussard testified. Bailey had covered a child rape case that was pending against the elder Bey when the bakery founder died in 2003. Bey IV blamed Bailey’s reporting in the Oakland Tribune for causing stress that hastened his father’s death.
Broussard’s testimony is expected to continue Tuesday, when the 23-year-old will likely describe shooting Bailey two days after seeing the funeral tape.
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Monday was Broussard’s second day on the witness stand in the triple-murder trial. Broussard said he killed Bailey and a second man, 31-year-old Odell Roberson, at Bey IV’s order; Mackey is charged with helping in both those killings and with the murder of a third man, Michael Wills, 36, also at Bey IV’s order.
Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, have pleaded not guilty.
Broussard spent the full court day Monday answering questions from prosecutor Melissa Krum. He laughed as he described killing Roberson on July 7, 2007.
Roberson was the uncle of a man convicted of killing Bey IV’s older brother Antar Bey in 2005. Bey IV wanted an “eye for an eye” revenge killing, Broussard said. Broussard, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, described how Mackey handed him an assault rifle, which he pointed at Roberson, who started to run.
“I said, ‘Stop or I’m going to fire,’” Broussard testified, before bursting into laughter, then turning his head and stifling his laughs into his arm.
He said he fired eight to 10 assault rifle rounds into Roberson’s chest. “I think I shot him face forward,” Broussard testified. “He hit the ground. I think he fell backward.”
“Why did you kill Odell Roberson?” Krum asked.
“Because Yusuf Bey IV told me to,” Broussard replied.
Broussard seemed far calmer on the witness stand than he did on his first day Thursday, when he stumbled through testimony and said he lacked the words to answer Krum’s questions. In exchange for his testimony, Broussard will receive a 25-year sentence for the deaths of Bailey and Roberson.
After describing the Roberson killing, Broussard briefly told jurors how Mackey bragged about killing Wills on July 12, 2007. Mackey and Bey IV, Broussard said, mocked that slaying, laughing together about how Wills’ leg flew into the air when he was shot, as if kicking a football.
Broussard said they jumped around imitating a football referee, raising their arms in the air and saying, “It’s good, it’s good,” as if referring to a field goal or extra point.
He also said they laughed about killing Wills because he was white and said Bey IV and Mackey bragged they had been talking about the so-called Zebra murders in the Bay Area in early 1970s, where Black Muslims randomly shot white people on the streets.
Bey IV admired the Zebra Killers because “they was giving white people a taste of their own medicine for lynching and murdering blacks,” Broussard said.
Four members of a Black Muslim mosque in San Francisco were eventually convicted of multiple murders, including one in which a machete was used. Former Alameda County District Lowell Jensen said in spring 1974 that several unsolved killings in Oakland and Berkeley matched the same scenarios. No arrests were ever made.
In earlier testimony, Broussard described the Roberson slaying, saying Bey IV told him, “Take him out when you get the chance.”
Antar Bey was shot dead at a North Oakland gas station in October 2005, and a man named Alfonza Phillips was later convicted. Broussard told jurors that Bey IV’s first intended victim was Phillips’ father, Alfonza Phillips Sr.
“He wanted me, when I got the opportunity, to kill him,” Broussard said.
Bey IV pointed out Phillips Sr. when he, Broussard and others attended the younger Phillips’ court appearances.
But the elder Phillips proved elusive when Broussard, and eventually, Mackey, staked out his house and tried to learn his schedule, Broussard testified.
In early July 2007, Broussard said he and Bey IV were at the bakery when Roberson wandered past.
Bey IV said, “You know who he is?” Broussard said, adding he didn’t have an answer.
“He’s related to the dude who killed my brother,” he quoted Bey IV as saying.
Broussard told jurors he replied, “And he’s still walking around?”
Bey IV responded, “‘That’s why we need more brothers like you,” Broussard said.
Bey IV told him to track Roberson’s movements around the San Pablo Avenue neighborhood where the bakery was located.
Broussard described Roberson as “a dope fiend. He was a dude out and about. He would have liked to get down with the bakery but he got that (drug) habit.”
Bey IV sometimes gave Roberson food, Broussard said, calling the bakery leader “a kind dude. He was generous.”
But Bey IV quickly wanted Roberson killed because he was an easier target to locate than Phillips Sr., Broussard said as jurors watched.
Broussard and Bey IV were alone in the bakery when the Bey IV ordered the hit, Broussard said. “I took it in stride, like OK.”
Broussard began to describe the night he killed Roberson. When he said Mackey left the bakery compound with him and carried an SKS assault rifle with a folding stock, he looked directly at Mackey, who was seated at the defense table wearing a white shirt with brown stripes.
Mackey matched his stare intently.
As court ended, Broussard testified how he, Mackey and Bey IV staked out Bailey’s apartment near Lake Merritt the night before the killing and how he and Mackey returned early the next morning. Bailey slipped away from them, but they soon found him walking along 14th Street.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon then ended court for the day.
Outside court, Bey IV and Mackey’s court-appointed lawyers said they could begin what they say will be a grueling cross examination of Broussard sometime Tuesday.
Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, described Broussard’s testimony and behavior as “bizarre, very odd and peculiar. He laughs at inappropriate time and (describes) killing people in fairly chilling terms.”
Reach investigative reporter Thomas Peele at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.