Chauncey Bailey trial down one juror

Six days into testimony in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial, Juror 7 was dismissed because he had encountered defendant Yusuf Bey IV’s brother at his job at Fairmont Hospital. The juror was dismissed without explanation before testimony Monday afternoon.

Defendant Antoine Mackey’s attorney, Gary Sirbu, brought the matter up again after the jury had been excused for the day, renewing a motion for change of venue. The juror, Sirbu explained, had encountered a man with the last name Bey and was worried about possible retribution from the family of Yusuf Bey IV or other associates of Your Black Muslim Bakery.

“The court can infer this is on every juror’s mind,” Sirbu said, as Bey, son of Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey, has an extensive and influential family. Prosecutor Melissa Krum disagreed with the assessment, saying there was no reason to believe that every juror felt the same way.

Judge Thomas Reardon agreed with Krum, pointing out that while Sirbu said they only shared a last name, in fact their names were identical, and they were brothers. The dismissed juror had coincidentally encountered a close member of the defendant’s family.

Bey and Mackey are on trial for first degree murder for their roles in three murders, including the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, who allegedly was working on a story about the bakery and was killed to prevent the story from being published.

For the last several days, the court has heard testimony from Devaughndre Broussard, who has confessed to shooting Bailey, and says the three men planned the murder together. Broussard will receive a shortened sentence of 25 years in exchange for his testimony, which will resume Tuesday at 9:30 AM, with four alternate jurors instead of five.