The former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery, who is accused of engineering the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey, ran a criminal enterprise that terrorized the city's residents and was so arrogant he "walked around like a king," the prosecutor in the case said Wednesday during closing arguments of the months long trial.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum argued that the facts support witnesses' testimony against Yusuf Bey IV, 25, who she alleges ordered the killing of Bailey in August 2007.
Bey and his associate Antoine Mackey, 25, face three counts of murder in connection with the killings of Bailey, Odell Roberson Jr., 31, and Michael Wills, 36, that summer.
Bailey was working on an article about the bakery's financial problems at the time he was killed, and prosecutors allege that Bey wanted Bailey dead in part to stop the article from being published.
Krum said a "normal" person would not have ordered the killing of a journalist because of a story, and that Bey was not at all normal.
He inherited the bakery from his father, Yusuf Bey, who died in 2003.
Bailey was killed not long before an important hearing in the bakery's effort to get additional credit and stay afloat, Krum said.
"At these very key moments, Bey resorts to violence to save the bakery," she said. "It speaks volumes about his desperation to keep his father's legacy alive."
Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 23, has admitted to shooting Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007, near the offices of the Oakland Post, where Bailey was an editor.
Broussard at first claimed Bey was not involved, but later said Bey had masterminded the deaths and agreed to testify against Bey and Mackey in exchange for a shorter prison term.
Broussard's conflicting accounts of what happened have raised questions about his credibility, and Krum tried to assuage those concerns today by telling jurors that material evidence and witness testimony confirm Broussard's statements, including information he gave about the murder weapon, motive, and dry run of the killing.
She said Broussard is a sociopath and a cold-blooded killer, but said his testimony holds up, "Not because he's a good person and we like him, but because what he says rings absolutely true with what we already knew."
Bey stole the shotgun that was used to kill Bailey in 2005, Krum said. The tape of his father's funeral, which Bailey attended and which Bey allegedly used to identify the journalist for Broussard, was found in Bey's VCR.
Krum argued that neither Mackey nor Broussard had any reason to want Bailey dead other than Bey's orders.
GPS data confirmed a test run of the killing that Broussard described, and cell phone records show Bey and Mackey were in contact around the time emergency dispatchers received calls about Bailey's death, Krum said.
She said the records show Bey was also in contact with the man who owned the van used in the killing, and witnesses reported the shooter exiting and re-entering the van on the passenger side before the van took off, indicating that a driver -- allegedly Mackey -- had to have been involved.
Bailey's brother, Errol Cooley, said he considers the case a "slam dunk."
"I think that justice will be served for sure," he said. "It's been a very long trial for the family. It's just very difficult for the family having to go through this again."
He added that he had been keeping his feelings on the case private, but finally decided voice his opinion about the defendants.
"I really feel that the bottom line is they're just a whole bunch of thugs and hoodlums who were trying to intimidate people," he said.