Ex-Your Black Muslim Bakery leader guilty of murder

The former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery was convicted today of three counts of first-degree murder for ordering the slayings of Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey and two other men, capping a high-profile trial that was closely watched by journalists and First Amendment advocates.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

An Alameda County Superior Court jury convicted Yusuf Bey IV, 25, after deliberating in Oakland since May 23.

A second defendant, former bakery associate Antoine Mackey, 25, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the 2007 killings of Bailey and Michael Wills, 36. The jury split on a third count involving the 2007 slaying of Odell Roberson Jr. 31, and Judge Thomas Reardon declared a mistrial.

Both Bey and Mackey face sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Melissa Krum had portrayed Bey as a charismatic but unhinged leader of a financially ailing black empowerment organization. She told jurors he would stop at nothing to terrorize those he believed had wronged him or the bakery founded in the late 1960s by his father, Yusuf Bey Sr.

Bailey was shot dead as he walked to work in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007. Prosecutors said Bey IV had targeted him because Bailey was planning to write a story about the now-defunct bakery’s financial problems.

Roberson was the uncle of a man who had killed Bey’s brother in a botched 2005 carjacking in North Oakland, and Wills was slain simply because he was white, the prosecution said.

The Associated Press says:

Founded some 40 years ago by Bey’s father, the bakery, which promoted self-empowerment, became an institution in Oakland’s black community while running a security service, school and other businesses. In recent years, the organization was tainted by connections to criminal activity. […]

Before the killing of Bailey, Cuban-American Manuel de Dios Unanue, an outspoken journalist, was shot in the head in a New York City restaurant in 1992. Police believe drug traffickers and businessmen plotted to murder him in retaliation for hard-hitting stories he had written about their operations, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Black Muslim Bakery has had a long and checkered history

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday June 10, 2011.
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