Following the murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007, allegedly to prevent him from exposing the financial dealings of Your Black Muslim Bakery, the Guardian joined with other Bay Area media outlets in an award-winning investigative project known as the Chauncey Bailey Project. The murder trial of two men accused of ordering the killing by admitted shooter Devaughndre Broussard began March 21, and we’ve been running coverage from the project on the SFBG Politics blog. Here are some excerpts, written by Thomas Peele, an investigative reporter with the project who works at the Contra Costa Times (with reporter Josh Richman contributing to some reports).
BROUSSARD BURST INTO LAUGHTER DESCRIBING 2007 SLAYING — MARCH 28
Devaughndre Broussard burst into laughter before jurors as he described how he shot and killed the relative of the man who had killed Yusuf Bey IV’s brother.
Broussard described how the man, Odell Roberson, started to run when he saw Broussard come at him with a shotgun in summer 2007.
“I said, ‘Stop or I’m going to fire!’ ” Broussard said, 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.”
Broussard is on the witness stand for the second day in the triple-murder trial of Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and bakery member Antoine Mackey. Broussard said he killed Roberson and a second man, journalist Chauncey Bailey, at Bey IV’s order. Mackey is charged with helping in both those killings and with the murder of a third man, Michael Wills. Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, have pleaded not guilty.
Broussard is the prosecution’s star witness in the case. He has pleaded guilty to killing Roberson and Bailey and will receive a 25-year sentence in exchange for his testimony.
CONFESSED GUNMAN BROUSSARD TAKES THE STAND — MARCH 24
Broussard first entered Judge Thomas Reardon’s crowded courtroom at 11:39 a.m. wearing shackles and a red jail jumpsuit. He passed in front of the defense table where Bey IV and codefendant Antoine Mackey sat staring at him intently; he didn’t meet their eyes. Bey IV wore a tan suit and a bow tie — the symbol of the Black Muslim movement that Broussard said he joined in 2006.
During afternoon testimony, Broussard described participating in a 2006 shooting of an unoccupied car with other members of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Prosecutor Melissa Krum contends that shooting illustrates the bakery’s command structure: Bey IV issued orders to others to commit crimes on his behalf.
Broussard described being in a room at the bakery when Bey IV’s half-brother, Yusuf Bey V, came to him, gave him a pistol-grip shotgun, and told him Bey IV wanted a car shot to bits. The car belonged to a man with whom the Bey brothers had a dispute.
“I fired it until it was empty five or six times,” Broussard said of the shotgun. He would later use it, Broussard told a grand jury in 2009, to kill Bailey, also on Bey IV’s order.
LOADED SHOTGUNS TAKEN FROM BAKERY COMPOUND, OFFICER SAYS — MARCH 23
A police officer is testifying in the murder trial of journalist Chauncey Bailey that he seized two loaded, sawed-off shotguns from the bedrooms of key players in the case.
One, a 12-gauge Remington, was under a bed in defendant Antoine Mackey’s bedroom, Officer Bruce Christensen of the Oakland Police Department, told jurors.
The other, a 12-gauge Mossberg, was found outside a bedroom window. Bailey’s confessed killer, Devaughndre Broussard, told a grand jury that was the Bailey murder weapon. It was loaded with five rounds, Christensen said.
MURAL FOR SLAIN JOURNALIST UNVEILED AT HIS ALMA MATER — FEB. 26
As a teenager with a stutter, Bailey spent a lot of time in the library at Hayward High School immersing himself in books so he wouldn’t have to talk to people.
The stutter went away, but Bailey’s love of the written word did not. He spent nearly 40 years in journalism before being gunned down as he walked to his job as editor of the Oakland Post on Aug. 2, 2007.
Compiled by Guardian staff. View more at www.chaunceybaileyproject.org