Man gets life term in ordering journalist’s death

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The former leader of an Oakland community group will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of ordering the killings of three men, including the first American journalist killed on U.S. soil for reporting a

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The former leader of an Oakland community group will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of ordering the killings of three men, including the first American journalist killed on U.S. soil for reporting a story in more than a decade.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge sentenced Yusuf Bey IV, 25, to three life terms in prison without the possibility of parole Friday.

As head of Your Black Muslim Bakery, Bey ordered his workers to kill the men in separate attacks in July 2007, prosecutors said.

According to trial testimony, Odell Roberson, 31, was killed in retaliation for the murder of Bey’s brother by Roberson’s nephew.

Prosecutors said Michael Wills, 36, was killed randomly after Bey had a conversation about the Zebra murders, a string of racially motivated black-on-white killings in San Francisco in the 1970s. Bey is black, and Wills was white.

The third victim was Chauncey Bailey, 57, the editor of the Oakland Post who was working on a story about the bakery’s financial troubles.

The prosecution’s star witness was Devaughndre Broussard, a bakery handyman who acknowledged carrying out the Bailey killing on Bey’s orders and with help from Antoine Mackey, who also was convicted in the murders of Wills and Bailey. Jurors deadlocked on Mackey’s involvement in the Roberson killing.

Mackey was sentenced Friday to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Before the sentences were handed down, Bey’s lawyer read a statement by him in which he maintained his innocence. Mackey chose not to say anything at the hearing.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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