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
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
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.
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