Gunman in Chauncey Bailey murder sentenced to 25 years

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceAugust 13, 2011 

OAKLAND, Calif. — The man who gunned down journalist Chauncey Bailey and another man on instructions from the leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison.

Devaughndre Broussard, 23, will have to serve at least 21 years before he is eligible for parole after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon accepted the terms of a plea deal. Under the terms of the agreement, Broussard admitted shooting Bailey and another man, and testified against bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and his accomplice, bakery member Antoine Mackey.

Reardon dismissed Mackey's claim that Broussard's testimony could not be trusted and accepted Broussard's guilty pleas to two counts of voluntary manslaughter in connection with Bailey's death on Aug. 2, 2007, and the death of Odell Roberson, a 31-year-old homeless man, on July 8, 2007.

"I'm glad this chapter is over," Bailey's cousin, Wendy Ashley Johnson, told reporters after the hearing. "He's going to be in there a long time to think about what he's done."

Broussard did not speak during the hearing. His mother, Aundra Dixon, apologized in the courtroom to relatives of Bailey and 36-year-old sous chef Michael Wills, whom Mackey shot to death on July 12, 2007.

"I don't know what was going on in his head when he did what he did," Dixon said after her son was sentenced. "It was just some stupid stuff. I'm losing my child, and it hurts."

Bey IV and Mackey, both 25, were convicted June 9 for their role in the murders; each will receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole when they are sentenced Aug. 26. Bey IV ordered Broussard and Mackey to hunt down Bailey after learning the Oakland Post editor was writing a story about financial problems and internal strife at the bakery.

Broussard is sorry about the killings and plans to take correspondence courses in prison and eventually become an imam who preaches compassion, said his attorney, LeRue Grim.

"He just feels terrible about it and he just, to the extent possible, wants to make amends," Grim said.

In a separate hearing before Broussard's sentencing, Reardon refused to grant Mackey a new trial. That hearing, which lasted more than three hours, included a lengthy discussion about comments Grim made to a Bay Area News Group reporter following Bey IV's and Mackey's murder convictions. Grim was quoted as saying Broussard may have committed "a little bit of fabrication," although the attorney did not specify what he meant.

Defense attorneys and prosecutor Melissa Krum questioned Grim about the comment, and Reardon held separate, closed-door meetings with Grim and the reporter, Thomas Peele. Grim testified he did not believe Broussard had lied during the trial, and Reardon ruled Grim's published comment was not enough to warrant a new trial.

Krupnick reports for the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif.

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