RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Oakland, California is revisiting a crime that shocked the city four years ago. Two men are on trial for the murder of a popular journalist - Chauncey Bailey. He was gunned down on his way to work in 2007. Prosecutors say Chauncey Bailey was killed because he was writing an expose on a local bakery run by a Black Muslim group. The owner of the bakery is accused of masterminding the murder. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.
RICHARD GONZALES: Even in a city that has seen more than its share of street murders, the brazen killing of Chauncey Bailey in broad daylight struck a raw nerve. Here's KTVU news anchor Dennis Richmond reporting on August 2, 2007.
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DENNIS RICHMOND: Today, in downtown Oakland, in front of horrified witnesses, a masked man dressed in dark clothing, armed with a shotgun, assassinated a well-known Oakland journalist. Fifty-seven-year-old Chauncey Bailey was editor of the Oakland Post, a newspaper that primarily serves the African-American community.
GONZALES: Police also arrested then-20-year-old Devaughndre Broussard, a janitor at the bakery who had a criminal record. Initially he denied killing Bailey. Then he confessed, saying that he had acted alone. But later, in an interview with "60 Minutes," Broussard recanted.
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DEVAUGHNDRE BROUSSARD: I never heard about Chauncey Bailey. I never met him. I never seen him. The first time I heard about Mr. Chauncey Bailey was that night I got arrested.
GONZALES: But Yusuf Bey's attorney, Gene Peretti, says his client is innocent and that Broussard's plea agreement means he has a motive to lie.
GENE PERETTI: Well, it's fundamentally his word. He's the person that finds himself in a situation where he has in essence confessed to two murders, and he starts thinking about it, he gets an attorney, and all of a sudden he's going to cut a deal.
GONZALES: But Peretti's client, the defendant Yusuf Bey, has his own credibility problems. Bey had been arrested on a separate kidnapping charge. He told police he had no knowledge of Bailey's murder. Police put him in a holding room with two underlings and secretly videotaped their conversation.
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YUSUF BEY: That fool said, pow, pow, poof(ph).
GONZALES: Bey is whispering, so the audio is difficult to hear. The video was obtained by the Chauncey Bailey Project, a collaboration of San Francisco Bay Area news groups created to investigate Bailey's murder. Robert Rosenthal of the Center for Investigative Reporting leads the project and says the video points to a conspiracy.
ROBERT ROSENTHAL: The video shows Yusuf Bey IV in a holding cell basically describing the murder of Chauncey Bailey and the assassination with the detail of even laughing about sort of the way his head would jerk back when I believe it was the second or third shot from a shotgun hit him in the head.
GONZALES: Richard Gonzales, NPR News, San Francisco.
MONTAGNE: And you can see the video from the Chauncey Bailey Project on our website at NPR.org.
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