Alfonza Phillips was convicted today of first-degree murder with special circumstances for the Oct. 25, 2005, shooting death of former Your Black Muslim Bakery chief executive Antar Bey at an Oakland gas station.
Phillips, 22, faces life in prison without parole when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson on Dec. 14.
Jurors, who deliberated for less than two full days, apparently rejected defense lawyer Leonard Ulfelder’s theory that Bey’s death was due to an ongoing power struggle at the bakery and accepted prosecutor Colleen McMahon’s theory that the incident was “a classic example of a carjacking gone bad.”
Bey, 23, was shot to death at the Union 76 gas station at 55th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2005.
In her closing argument last week, McMahon told jurors that Ulfelder’s claim that Bey’s death was a well-planned assassination was “speculation” and was “completely unsupported by any of the facts you heard in this trial.”
McMahon said “there’s not a shred of evidence” to support Ulfelder’s claim, as Ulfelder didn’t present any witnesses to back up his assassination theory.
McMahon said she believes Phillips targeted Bey because he wanted to steal Bey’s $75,000 BMW 745 sedan both because he wanted to have the car and because he wanted to give its “very expensive” 22-inch rims to his girlfriend, U.S. Postal Service employee Althea Foy, now 24.
McMahon said to jurors, “This incident was a hit? If that were the case, the shooter would have made darn sure that he (Bey) was dead and shot him multiple times.”
Phillips was convicted of first-degree murder, the special circumstance of committing a murder during an attempted carjacking, attempted carjacking, using a firearm and discharging a firearm causing death.
Your Black Muslim Bakery has been in the news in recent months because bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 19, is accused of murdering journalist Chauncey Bailey in Oakland on Aug. 2, allegedly because he was upset about articles Bailey had written about the bakery.
In addition, the bakery is in bankruptcy proceedings and current bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV, 21, who is Antar’s younger brother, and four other bakery associates are charged with kidnapping and torturing two Oakland women on May 17. Yusuf Bey IV also faces numerous other charges throughout the Bay Area.
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.
— Bay City News