Twelve years after they were convicted of murders that included the assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, the former leader and a staffer at the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery have filed longshot petitions for release from prison.
Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey, both 37, filed motions this year seeking to overturn their 2011 murder convictions for the assassination of Bailey in the summer of 2007. Both men are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, in New Folsom and Salinas Valley prisons, respectively.
Bey IV was convicted of three murders — Bailey’s, Odell Robertson and Michael Wills — all killed in Oakland during the summer of 2007. Mackey was also convicted of fatally shooting Wills, an Oakland resident killed in what prosecutors called a copycat of the race-based Zebra Murder spree of the 1970s.
The motions cite changes in California’s felony murder rule under a 2019 law that raises the bar for when prosecutors can charge people with murder. The Alameda District Attorney’s Office has already filed boilerplate legal responses opposing both motions, arguing that the very nature of their convictions should be enough for a judge to dismiss the petitions outright.
“At Petitioner’s trial, the jury convicted him of three first degree murders with multiple murder special circumstance findings as to each one,” Deputy District Attorney Dana Drusinsky wrote in an opposition to Bey IV’s petition. “As to each murder, the jury found true that Petitioner was either ‘the actual killer’ or ‘that he did intend to kill.’”
The opposition to Mackey’s motion, filed by a different prosecutor, is identical except that “three” first-degree murders is changed to “two.”
Bailey’s sister, Lorelei Waqia, said she was pleased to hear the DA’s office is opposing Bey IV’s and Mackey’s release.
“Both evil men need to serve their full term for the murder,” Waqia said in an interview. “They knew what they were doing — to take a life.”
District Attorney Pamela Price, a former civil rights attorney who took office this year, ran in 2022 on a campaign opposing life without parole sentences. Her office has reduced charges in several pending cases to make the defendants ineligible for such penalties, but thus far has not made any attempt to reduce Mackey or Bey IV’s sentences to give them a chance for parole.
Mackey’s motion is set for a status conference in November. Bey IV’s doesn’t yet have a a court date but a judge signed an order appointing him a lawyer back in June, court records show.
Bey IV is the son of Yusuf Bey, a former follower of the Nation of Islam who broke away to form Your Black Muslim Bakery in the 1970s. The elder Bey, who ran for Oakland mayor in 1994, died in 2003 while facing charges that he raped and fathered children with girls as young as 13. Bey IV took control of the bakery after his brother, Antar Bey, was shot and killed in Oakland in 2005.
Headquartered in Oakland, Your Black Muslim Bakery once had multiple bakery locations around the East Bay, including the Oakland Coliseum, and wielded enough political influence that it landed a $1 million city loan it never repaid and received support from a congresswoman during its 2007 bankruptcy. Bakery leaders preached Black empowerment and self-sustainability. But there were always allegations of its dark side, including fraud, murder and sexual abuse.
Chauncey Bailey, then the editor of The Oakland Post, was assassinated in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007
Bailey, a former Oakland Tribune reporter, was the editor of the Oakland Post in 2007. A bakery handyman named Devaughndre Broussard would later testify that Bey IV held a grudge against Bailey for covering his father’s child molestation case, and for a story he was working on about the bakery’s troubled finances.
Broussard testified at the 2011 trial that he and Mackey followed Bailey to work on Aug. 2, 2007 with the intention of killing him. Using a Mossberg shotgun that had been stolen during a ransacking of a liquor store — part of the bakery’s protest against alcohol sales in Black communities — Broussard shot Bailey multiple times on a downtown street, he admitted on the witness stand.
Broussard also admitted to killing Robertson, a relative of the man who killed Antar Bey, and implicated Mackey in Wills’ murder. He said Bey IV was discussing the Zebra Murders — a spree of 1970s killings where Black Muslims targeted white people at random — then instructed Mackey to kill Wills, a white man who was walking to a store to buy cigarettes.
Because of his cooperation, Broussard avoided a life sentence. He remains imprisoned at a fire camp and was denied parole last month.
Mackey testified during trial that he never accompanied Broussard to kill Bailey and was opening the bakery that morning. Bey IV has maintained his innocence — despite a video at a police station where he talks about his role in Bailey’s murder — and has tried to revive Your Black Muslim Bakery from prison. In 2016, he was accused of using a smuggled cellphone to order hits from prison, but never charged.