Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Alameda County judge has denied bail to an associate of Your Black Muslim Bakery who is charged with kidnapping a woman for ransom

Henry K. Lee:

Joshua Bey has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping a woman for ransom

Joshua Bey, 19, would be a danger to the community and to the woman if he is released on bail, said Judge Morris Beatus of Alameda County Superior Court. Bey himself could also be in danger, the judge said, though he did not specify from whom.

Bey shook his head in disagreement and relatives cried in the gallery of the Oakland courtroom as the judge announced his decision.

Bey's criminal case is one of several involving people associated with the Oakland bakery. A handyman with the group, Devaughndre Broussard, 19, has been charged with murdering Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey on Aug. 2, allegedly because he was upset that Bailey was reporting on the bakery's financial problems.

Bey, his half brother and bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, 21, and Tamon Halfin, 20, were arrested in the kidnapping the same day Broussard was arrested in Bailey's killing. The Bey brothers and Halfin have not been charged in the slaying, but could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted of kidnapping the woman.

All three are being held without bail on three counts of kidnapping, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of torture. Joshua Bey has pleaded not guilty; the other defendants have not yet entered pleas.

According to authorities, the three men used a Ford Crown Victoria outfitted with emergency lights - the same type of car that police use - to pull the woman over on Interstate 580 near Seminary Avenue about 10:30 p.m. May 17.

They took her to an abandoned home on Avenal Avenue, put a bag over her head, and hit and stabbed her and told her that she would be tortured with a hot curling iron if she didn't reveal where an acquaintance kept his money, authorities said.

They asked her if she could "smell that gasoline, that's the next thing that's gonna happen," Oakland police Officer Jesse Grant wrote in a statement that outlined grounds for the three men's arrest.

The men fled when a police officer who had heard the woman's cries for help arrived at the home.

Joshua Bey's attorney, David Washington, sought unsuccessfully Tuesday for a "reasonable bail" for his client.

The attorney said Bey IV had directed Joshua Bey and Halfin to get money from the woman. He said the bakery leader had lied to the other men, telling them the cash would help the financially ailing group, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October.

In reality, Bey IV told police, the money was to be used to repay a personal debt, according to Grant. Bey IV "had to lie to get them to follow instructions," Washington told the judge.

The accusation is similar to one made Monday by Broussard's attorney, LeRue Grim, in the murder case. Grim said Bey IV had coerced Broussard to be a "good soldier" for Your Black Muslim Bakery and falsely confess to killing Bailey.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Patton said the kidnapping was an extremely serious case. Joshua Bey "may not be the mastermind, but the idea that he wasn't intricately involved in the commission of the crime is just not accurate," he said, arguing that the defendant was a flight risk.

Bey IV and Halfin are unlikely to make bail, as Bey is facing separate criminal charges relating to real estate fraud, the vandalizing of two Oakland liquor stores and assault on a bouncer outside a San Francisco strip club. Halfin pleaded no contest last year in the liquor store vandalism case from 2005.

The Color of Crime

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