Joshua Bey to testify in kidnap, torture case

The half-brother of Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV will return to the witness stand on Friday to resume his testimony against Bey and three other defendants on charges that they kidnapped and tortured two women, a prosecutor said today.

In a surprise move, 19-year-old Joshua Bey pleaded guilty last Tuesday to one count of kidnapping in connection with the May 17 incident.

His plea wasn't made public until Friday, when the high-profile case was moved to a high-security courtroom and Bey testified against co-defendants Yusuf Bey IV, 22, their fellow half brother Yusuf Bey V, 21, Tamon Halfin, 21, and Richard Lewis, 23, a former football star at Mission High School in San Francisco.

Prosecutor Scott Patton said today that he hopes the preliminary hearing for the five remaining defendants in the case will conclude on Friday, when Joshua Bey is cross-examined by lawyers for two of the other men.

Last Friday, Bey was questioned by Patton and then cross-examined by lawyers for three of the defendants in the case.

The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine if there's enough evidence to have the defendants stand trial on charges that they kidnapped the two women and tortured them in an effort to steal money from them.

If they're convicted, the five remaining defendants face life in prison without the possibility of parole for aggravated kidnapping for ransom and extortion and an additional term of life with the possibility of parole for kidnapping to commit robbery.

Joshua Bey also faced a potential life sentence, but Patton said he allowed Bey to plead guilty to a single charge of simple kidnapping and receive a 3-year sentence in return for testifying truthfully against the other men at their preliminary hearing and any subsequent trials.

Patton said the remaining charges against Joshua Bey are still pending and will only be dismissed if he testifies truthfully.

On Jan. 24, when the preliminary hearing began, a young woman who's one of the alleged victims, tearfully testified that she thought she was going to be killed when a group of men kidnapped and beat her after she left a bingo parlor last May 17.

The young woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe 1 because prosecutors want to protect her identity, said she and her mother left the bingo parlor in East Oakland about 10:30 p.m. that night and were driving on Interstate Highway 580 when a dark car with its emergency lights flashing came up behind her.

Dabbing her eyes with a tissue, the woman said she and her mother were whisked to a house in a different part of Oakland. Authorities say it was at 6826 Avenal Drive.

She said she pulled to the side of the road because she thought it was a police car, but authorities allege that the vehicle was a decommissioned police cruiser that was bought at an auction in Antioch.

The woman said a masked man with “a long gun” and several others handcuffed her, put a bag over her head and hit her in hopes of forcing her to reveal where a man kept money. Oakland police believe the suspects thought the woman knew a drug dealer.

“They asked where my money was and I said I didn't have any money,” the woman said.

She said the suspects told her, “If I cooperated I wouldn't get hurt and would live through this,” but she said she was hit in the twice in the head with a hard object when she didn't give the men any information.

The woman said she felt blood on her head and initially thought she had been shot.

Breaking down in tears, she said the men threatened to take her “to the top of the hill” and told her, “You know what happens there,” which she said she interpreted as meaning “I was going to die.”

According to a declaration filed in court by Oakland police officer Jesse Grant, Joshua Bey and Halfin admitted their involvement in the kidnapping after being arrested at the bakery on Aug. 3 but Yusuf Bey IV initially denied direct involvement, claiming he had been at the bakery all night.

But after being confronted with cell phone records indicating that he and Joshua had exchanged phone calls and text messages during the incident, Yusuf Bey IV admitted driving one of the two cars that allegedly were used during the kidnapping, Grant said.

Grant said Bey IV told his alleged accomplices that he needed money for the bakery, which was in bankruptcy proceedings at the time and later was sold to a new owner, but “did not tell them the truth that the money was to repay a personal debt because he thought it more admirable to tell them the money was for the bakery.”

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