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Bey and two others face life in prison
for kidnapping incident

By Jeff Shuttleworth

August 7, 2007

Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and two associates were charged today with kidnapping, torture and false imprisonment for an incident involving two women victims in East Oakland on May 17.

Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said Bey, 21, and the other two men face life in prison without the possibility of parole for a charge of aggravated kidnapping for ransom and extortion and an additional term of life with the possibility of parole for kidnapping to commit robbery.

Bey, his younger brother Joshua Bey, 20, and Tamon Halfin, 21, are each charged with seven felony counts and are being held in custody without bail.

Joshua Bey, the only one of the three men who has retained an attorney, pleaded not guilty and will return to Alameda County Superior Court on Monday to set dates for future hearings.

Yusuf Bey IV, who is the grandson of Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey and faces numerous other criminal cases throughout the greater Bay Area from Sonoma County to San Francisco, said he wants to hire a private lawyer and will return to court on Monday to finalize his legal representation and possibly enter a plea.

Helfin, who pleaded no contest last year to vandalism charges stemming from incidents at two West Oakland liquor stores on Nov. 23, 2005, and was placed on probation, will return to court tomorrow to finalize his legal representation and possibly enter a plea.

According to a declaration filed in court by Oakland police officer Jesse Grant, the Bey brothers and Helfin kidnapped a mother and daughter as the two women drove home from a bingo hall at Foothill Square in East Oakland about 10:30 p.m. on May 17.

The declaration says the women were driving near the Seminary Avenue exit on westbound Interstate Highway 580 when they saw what appeared to be a police vehicle flashing its lights at them.

According to Grant, the daughter pulled over "believing the police were pulling her over."

Grant said a man approached the driver's door, pointed a long rifle at the daughter and ordered both women to get into what appeared to be a police car.

According to the declaration, a bag was put over the daughter's head and she had trouble breathing so one of the men put a small hole in the bag but also handcuffed her. The mother's head was covered with a clothing item, Grant said.

The two women were then driven to an abandoned house at 6826 Avenal Ave. in Oakland, according to the declaration.

The men asked the daughter about a man named "Tom" and where he keeps his money and also said they had been watching her and knew she had lots of money, Grant said.

When the daughter said she doesn't have lots of money, she was struck hard on her head with a hard and flat object and began bleeding, the declaration says.

Grant said the men told the woman "they were going to stick a hot curling iron in her vagina and asked her if she could 'smell the gasoline, that's the next thing that's gonna happen.'"

However, the men fled when they heard Oakland police arriving at the scene and officers were able to rescue the two women, according to Grant's declaration.

Grant said the suspects used two cars in the incident. One of the cars was registered to Yusuf Bey IV at a residence in Pittsburg and another was registered to Ameenda Bey, a relative, at 1083 59th St. in Oakland.

Grant said Joshua Bey and Halfin admitted their involvement in the kidnapping but Yusuf Bey IV initially denied direct involvement, claiming he had been at the Your Black Muslim Bakery, which is at 5832 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland, all night.

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

Grant said Bey told his two alleged accomplices that he needed money for the bakery 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."

The bakery currently is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Oakland.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, both wrote letters to the court in support of the bakery.

Outside court, Helfin's aunt, Carrie Lebeau, said she thinks Helfin and the Bey brothers "are being railroaded."

Lebeau said "Tamon is quiet and introverted and is good with children" and described him as "a good kid."

Lebeau said she regrets that Helfin got involved with people at Your Black Muslim Bakery but said the bakery wasn't bad until Yusuf Bey, the founder, died four years ago and a power struggle for succession ensued.

Referring to Yusuf Bey IV, Lebeau said, "The kid was sitting on a gold mine but he didn't know how to work it."

Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said last week that police believe Bey was involved in the shooting death of journalist Chauncey Bailey on Thursday but Bey hasn't been charged in connection with that incident at this time.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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