The man accused of murdering journalist Chauncey Bailey in broad daylight in downtown Oakland four months ago is considering changing lawyers in hopes he can get a plea bargain that would result in only a one-year term in the county jail, the man's current attorney said today.
LeRue Grim, the defense attorney for Your Black Muslim Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, admitted, “I think it's impossible to get a deal like that in this case,” but he said he wants to give Broussard time to think things over before making any moves.
Broussard, 20, who was ordered to stand trial at the end of a preliminary hearing on Nov. 21, was scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court today but at Grim's request his arraignment was postponed until Jan. 24.
In an incident that drew national attention, Bailey, 57, was shot three times on 14th Street near Alice Street shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 2 as he was walking from his home near Lake Merritt to his job as editor of the Oakland Post several blocks away at 405 14th St.
Broussard was charged with murder after Oakland police say he told them he killed Bailey because he was upset about the journalist's reporting on the bakery's financial problems.
However, Grim insists that Broussard is innocent and says that if his case goes to trial he will testify and identify the real killer of Bailey.
Grim says he hopes to present testimony by two bakery employees who will give Broussard an alibi by saying he was working at the bakery at the time that Bailey was killed.
In a phone interview after today's brief hearing, Grim said bakery officials, including bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, have told Broussard that “he should get rid of me” and hire an attorney more closely affiliated with the bakery, which has had to deal with many criminal and legal issues in recent years.
Grim said Bey told Broussard that “he's on real good terms” with Oakland police Sgt. Derwin Longmire, who's one of the primary investigators in the Bailey incident, and thinks Broussard could be allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter, instead of murder, and only be sentenced to one year in the county jail plus probation.
Grim said, “I don't think any judge or prosecutor would go along with that kind of a deal.”
But he said he wants to give Broussard time to “think it over and see what materializes.”
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero, who is handling Broussard's case, said today that, “The case is moving toward trial and there haven't been any discussions about resolving the case” with a plea
Grim said that if there isn't a plea bargain he thinks the case will go to trial next summer.
Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said the day after Bailey was shot that police believed that Yusuf Bey IV, who's the son of bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was involved in Bailey's death in some fashion.
But Bey hasn't been charged and Broussard is the only defendant in the case. Bey is in custody on an unrelated kidnapping and torturing case as well as several other cases.
Grim said today that Antoine Mackey, a 21-year-old former San Francisco resident, may have played a role in the killing of Bailey because there are indications that he drove a van that was used as the getaway vehicle in the incident.
Mackey is believed to have left the Bay Area after the incident.
In a taped jailhouse telephone conversation on Aug. 4 with a man identified only as “unc,” the man asked Broussard, “What they do with Mackey?”
Broussard said, “Mackey got out,” in an apparent reference to police detaining Mackey and then releasing him.
Sgt. Longmire told Broussard in an Aug. 3 interview that, “Yusuf IV (Bey) tells us that he and Antoine (Mackey) were with you (Broussard) the night before” (Bailey was shot).
Broussard confirmed that, saying, “I showed them where he (Bailey) stayed at.”
Referring to the other two men, Broussard said he was with “Brother Yusuf Bey and Brother Antoine Mackey.”
In a separate interview with police on Aug. 3, Bey said Mackey and Broussard drove with him to the scene of Bailey's shooting shortly after it happened.