A prosecution informant who's a convicted armed robber and a drug addict testified today that Alfonza Phillips told him that he murdered former Your Black Muslim Bakery chief executive Antar Bey at an Oakland gas station two years ago.
The informant said he confronted Phillips, now 22, about his possible involvement in the shooting death of Bey, 23, at the Union 76 gas station at 55th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2005, because Phillips was dating his stepdaughter, Althea Foy, and Phillips was living at his house.
Prosecutor Colleen McMahon asked reporters not to use the name of the informant, who is being held at the Alameda County Jail while he awaits trial for a recent robbery arrest, because he fears retribution for his testimony against Phillips.
Testifying in the fourth day of Phillips' murder trial in Alameda County Superior Court,the informant, a 44-year-old man who was dressed in yellow jail clothes, said Phillips killed Bey “to impress my daughter” because she wanted to have fancy 22-inch rims and Bey's custom-made BMW 745, which was worth $75,000, had such rims.
The informant said that in a conversation two days after the incident Phillips “was bragging” about killing Bey.
Asked by McMahon if “it seemed unusual to kill someone for tire rims,” the informant said, “Yes – what are you going to do with them?”
He explained that, “You can't do nothing with them because they (the rims) are custom-made for that car” (Bey's BMW) and can't be used on other cars.
The informant said the fancy 22-inch rims are worth about $5,000 and “people are killed for them all the time” in Oakland.
Phillips' attorney, Leonard Ulfelder, suggested that the informant approached Oakland police on Oct. 28, 2005, to talk about Phillips' alleged confession because the informant was upset at Phillips because he had fought
with Phillips the day before over the proceeds of a drug transaction.
But the informant said that wasn't his reason for going to police. Under cross-examination by Ulfelder, the informant said prosecutors have paid him $1,000 for his testimony.
In his opening statement on Monday, Ulfelder told jurors the informant “is not a good citizen” and “wants something for his information,” such as cash as well as lenient treatment for his current felony charges.
Ulfelder said the informant “can't tell the truth any more than he can stop using drugs or committing crimes.”
McMahon told jurors in her opening statement the informant's testimony isn't enough evidence by itself to convict Phillips but she believes statements by other witnesses and gas station videotapes corroborate his story.
She said Oakland police initially looked into the possibility that Bey's death was due to the power struggle that occurred after Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey died in 2003.
But McMahon said authorities later decided that Phillips killed Bey in an attempted carjacking that didn't succeed because Phillips couldn't find the keys to Bey's car after he shot Bey in the back.
However, Ulfelder said he believes that Phillips is innocent and the incident did in fact result from a power struggle at the bakery.
Ulfelder said, “This was not a random carjacking, but a deliberate assassination by a group with a motive to kill for personal gain,” apparently referring to other leaders at the Oakland-based bakery.
Antar Bey took control of the bakery after his predecessor, Waajid Aljawwaad Bey, disappeared in 2004. Waajid Aljawwaad Bey's body was found in a shallow grave in East Oakland in July 2005 but the crime has never been solved.
In June 2005 another family leader, John Bey, survived an apparent assassination attempt in which he was shot at several times in his neighborhood in Oakland's Montclair District. That crime also hasn't been solved.
The bakery, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, currently is headed by 21-year-old Yusuf Bey IV, who's in custody without bail on kidnapping and torture charges for a May 17 incident involving two Oakland women as well as for numerous other charges for many other incidents throughout the Bay Area in recent years.
— Bay City News