Top News Story!
Posted: 10/22/2012 06:05:42 PM PDT - Updated: 10/23/2012 12:48:51 PM PDT
OAKLAND, CA -- The federal judge who will determine the future of Oakland's police force sent an unequivocal message Monday that he alone will decide what powers a court-appointed receiver would wield over the department. Oakland risks becoming the first major U.S. city to lose significant control of its police force over its failure to fully implement reforms stemming from the decade-old Riders police corruption case. The city is expected to vigorously fight to keep control of the department.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson refused to sign off on an agreement between the attorneys seeking a federal takeover of the department and Oakland's police union that would have prevented any court-appointed receiver from interfering with the union's contract and due process rights. In a two-paragraph response late Monday, Henderson wrote that only he had the authority to determine the receiver's powers and that he is considering bringing in an outside expert to help make that determination, should he opt to appoint a receiver. Henderson, who oversaw the Riders case, has scheduled a Dec. 13 hearing to consider appointing a receiver with potentially broad powers including the authority to hire and fire Oakland's police chief. Had Henderson agreed to limit a receiver's authority over the union's contract, the union would dropped its request to intervene in the receivership proceedings.
"The judge is clearly keeping all his options on the table," said an attorney representing the police union. "We don't have all the predictability on those issues that we would have liked to have had."
Posted: 10/19/2012 09:00:00 PM PDT - Updated: 10/22/2012 06:38:51 AM PDT
OAKLAND, CA -- City of Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente won't commit to returning campaign funds he says he unwittingly received from an Oakland motel recently shut down for its long involvement with prostitution and child sex trafficking. A judge ordered the hotel closed for a year in August. One month later, De La Fuente received a maximum $700 check from the hotel, which is owned by a limited liability company registered to Rajeshkumar Khatri, of Castro Valley. Two other East Bay hotels registered to limited liability companies also headed by Khatri, the Super 8 in Hayward and the Econo Lodge in Castro Valley, also gave De La Fuente maximum contributions -- a potential violation of city campaign finance rules.
Oakland's campaign finance law limits individual contributions to $700 and restricts the ability of people to use multiple businesses or limited liability companies to skirt contribution limits. The city treats such entities as a single person when they share two or more officers or are controlled by the same majority shareholders. All three hotel corporations list only Khatri and his wife, Hansaben Khatri, as managers in state filings.
De La Fuente said he voted to authorize the lawsuit that led to shuttering the motel and was unaware its owners had contributed to his campaign. "A lot of people give me money, so I don't know who (my contributors are) until I read my report," he said. De La Fuente's campaign filed a report Oct. 5 listing his major contributions, including the $2,100 he received from the three motels, as required by state law. The councilman said he would return the checks if they constituted a campaign violation, but otherwise wouldn't commit to giving back the money.
A criminal and constitutional law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, said De La Fuente had no moral obligation to return the motel money. "It's not unethical for him to keep it, but in my opinion it's not a very smart political practice." Oakland city attorneys fought for nearly two years to close the Economy Inn at 122 E. 12th St. at the southwest corner of Lake Merritt, citing multiple incidents of women being kidnapped and forced to work there as prostitutes. Khatri, who lives in Castro Valley, was unavailable to speak Friday, but his son, Jay Khatri, said De La Fuente had not solicited the donations. The Khatri-owned motels haven't donated to other candidates running for city office this year, according to campaign filings.
"I still believe that he is innocent of rape."
-- March 5, 2007, Statement by Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente Sr., regarding his son's earlier plea of Guilty to two counts of rape, one charge of assault to commit rape.
Oakland, CA (2007-05-03 19:02:00 PDT) -- In a surprise deal during his rape trial, Ignacio De La Fuente Jr., the son (pictured right) of a prominent Oakland politician pleaded guilty to five felony sex charges today, admitting to raping or sexually assaulting his four accusers. The surprise plea came just a week after the trial began for De La Fuente Jr. He is accused of raping four women in four separate incidents between October 2003 and just before his arrest in April 2005.
De La Fuente Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one charge of assault to commit rape, one count of forcible oral copulation and one charge of forced digital penetration. "He pleaded 'guilty,' not 'no contest' -- he personally admitted to the crimes."
He pleaded guilty to the five charges this morning in Alameda County Superior Court under a plea agreement that allows him to avoid a possible sentence of 75 years to life and instead serve a total sentence of 14 years, his attorneys and court officials said. With credit for time served and good behavior, De La Fuente Jr. could serve 12 years of his sentence and be paroled in about 10 years. But if the California Department Corrections and Rehabilitation deems him a sexually violent predator, he could be incarcerated for much longer, possibly for life.
The senior De La Fuente, the number two in last year's mayoral race, has long touted his tough approach to crime.
[Podcast (Excerpt) With Video Over Voice: City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente says he still believes his son is innocent.]
Council President De La Fuente, who sat in the courtroom nearly every day of the case, said he supports [his] son. "I still believe that he is innocent of rape," he said in an interview after the hearing. "I would have supported him if he wanted to fight these charges, and I support his decision to accept a plea," De La Fuente said. "I really feel that there were problems with the witnesses. But this was tough case. I think he was singled out because he was my son. It's a very sad day for our family. I love my son and I will always love him no matter what."
City attorneys cited 16 prostitution-related incidents at the Economy Inn in a well-publicized 2010 legal action against the motel. The lawsuit noted one Oct. 2010 incident in which police rescued a woman who had been kidnapped in San Diego and transported to the motel, where she was tortured with a whip and a lighter, sodomized and forced into prostitution.
There's nothing illegal about De La Fuente accepting campaign funds from the motel. Always a prolific fundraiser, De La Fuente collected $89,560 in campaign cash between mid-August and the end of September, far outpacing other city candidates during that period. De La Fuente is fighting an uphill battle to stay on the council after giving up the seat he's held for 20 years representing Oakland's Fruitvale district to take on Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan for the seat representing the entire city. A poll conducted late last month by the pro-business Jobs and Housing Coalition showed Kaplan leading De La Fuente 39 to 23 percent in the five-candidate field.
Posted: 08/23/2012 06:04:54 AM PDT - Posted: 08/23/2012 03:17:54 PM PDT
But a review of her filings with the City Clerk's Office shows numerous violations for which city and state officials have never held her accountable.
Brooks has failed to submit state-mandated semiannual campaign disclosure statements for six filing periods dating to 2006.
In 2010, Brooks twice invented her own time period for submitting campaign contributions and expenditures after missing earlier state-mandated deadlines.
That same year Brooks failed to name four contributors who donated a combined $1,500 to her re-election bid.
Also in 2010, she received $8,900 from contributors for whom she listed no valid occupation or employer. State law required her to return those contributions.
By far Brooks' most alarming recurring issue is that her campaign figures simply don't add up. Eight times since 2002 her campaign fund's ending cash balance for one reporting period was different from the beginning cash balance for the following period.
The city initially tried to make Brooks fix her mistakes, but as her violations continued, both city and state watchdog agencies chose to ignore the transgressions, even though she received $12,769 in public campaign matching funds. Though there is no evidence that Brooks has pocketed campaign contributions, the multitude of errors, including bad math, dating back 10 years makes it impossible to get a reliable accounting of Brooks' funds, said Mari Lee, a campaign treasurer whose clients include three Oakland council members.
"These filings are an absolute travesty," Lee said after inspecting them at this paper's request. "Without an audit being done there's no way of knowing how much money she raised and how much she spent."
History of violations
Brooks, who didn't return phone calls and refused requests to go over her filings in person, said in an email that she was unaware of both the accounting errors and her failure to file required reports.
The City Clerk's Office this year ordered her to correct her error-laden 2010 filings after this paper informed the office of the violations. But Brooks wrote that she couldn't comply because the information about her contributors was stored on her computer, which had been stolen.
State campaign finance law requires candidates to disclose the names, addresses, occupations and employers of contributors who give more than $100 and to file semiannual reports during non-election years -- obligations that Brooks, an attorney, has often ignored since first running for office in 2002.
In 2004, Oakland's Public Ethics Commission fined her $250 for failing to provide required background information for 37 contributors to her successful 2002 council bid.
That same year the commission forwarded its concerns about Brooks' campaign records to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. The commission declined to investigate, citing limited staff resources, said Gary Winuk, chief of the commission's enforcement division.
Brooks continued violating campaign rules after she was fined, but faced no additional penalty until last month, when the state commission, acting on an anonymous tip, fined her $400 for failing to submit the two semiannual disclosure reports for 2011.
Winuk said the commission hadn't been alerted that other filings also were missing or that the filings on record were full of mistakes. "Now that we know," he said, "we're going to follow up on it."
Brooks' frequent accounting discrepancies began in 2002 when she recorded a negative campaign balance of $11,768 for the filing period ending June 30. Yet that deficit was somehow wiped clean and she began the next filing period beginning July 1 with a balance of zero.
In 2008, the only campaign statement she filed showed an ending balance of $1,675. But her following statement, which wasn't filed until 2010, showed a beginning balance of $4,000.
When Brooks last month filed her campaign statement for the first half of 2012, the beginning balance was $1,353 less than the ending balance for her previous filing.
Records show that in 2005 Brooks made her sister, Darleen Brooks, her campaign treasurer at which point her disclosure errors became both more numerous and bizarre.
In a 2007 statement, Brooks listed $40,126 in contributions and $41,149 in payments for the year, but never detailed a single contribution or payment as required.
Facing re-election in 2010, Brooks was required to disclose her campaign contributions and expenditures at the end of June and September. She skipped both those deadlines and created her own filing period: Jan. 1 through Oct. 5.
That filing lacked required information for many contributors, including their employers and occupations.
In four cases, Brooks listed at least the contributor's address and donation, but neglected to include the contributor's name.
The filing also included a major math error, which caused her ending balance for the period to be undervalued by $4,000. The incorrect figure was carried over into her next campaign disclosure report, rendering it incorrect, as well.
"It doesn't appear the city has the will to enforce the law," said Bob Stearns, an attorney who helped write the state's campaign disclosure rules. "If nobody is telling her that her statements are terrible, she's going to continue doing this."
Assistant city clerk Tamika Thomas said state regulations require her office to accept campaign filings "regardless of their conditions" and that the clerk's office lacked both the authority to initiate investigations and the staffing to closely inspect the filings.
Thomas said it's up to the city's Public Ethics Commission to investigate campaign law violations. But the commission didn't meet at all for nine months after its director retired last year.
"There doesn't appear to be anyone right now capable of providing oversight," said Ralph Kanz, who served on the commission when it fined Brooks in 2004. "Because the ethics commission has been so understaffed and not provided the resources it needs, it's been unable to keep up with these things."
Although city clerks aren't required to inspect campaign filings, Winuk said many of them file complaints with the state after candidates fail to correct errors.
"We get them all the time," he said.
February 22, 2011
10 OPD Lawbreakers Re-hired!
The 10 officers, who will fill vacancies in the patrol division, are: Jo Balaoro, Gordon Dorham, Mark Douglas, James Duncan, Ronald Freeman, Terry Jones, John Keating, John McDonell, Francisco Negrete and Nathaniel Walker. The money to pay for the 10 returning officers comes from a combination of officers retiring and saving money on overtime. "It is clear that we are in a tough situation because of the budget funding, but what I was hoping to do is try to maximize the number of officers within the budget."
January 27, 2011
OAKLAND, CA -- Officers shot and killed a man armed with two guns after a car chase that began when two suspects shot up an East Oakland block Wednesday afternoon, police said. Police opened fire after telling one of the suspects, identified Thursday as Martin Flenaugh, 19 (a Caucasian male) of Oakland, to put down his guns and cooperate with officers (Oscar Grant was unarmed and cooperating!). When he refused, they opened fire, killing him.
The shooting by police came after the suspects' red Infiniti crashed into another car at 85th Avenue and San Leandro Street, eventually bursting into flames. Police said the driver, identified Thursday as Jereme Brown, 24, of Oakland, ran away but was captured and arrested. Brown was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder.
Officer Holly Joshi said the two suspects began randomly shooting at people in the 7600 block of Lockwood Street about 4:10 p.m. Joshi said that the area is not a "known hot spot" for crime and that police don't know why the area was targeted. Several pedestrians, motorists and a woman trying to put her child in a car were among those targeted, but no one was hit or wounded. "It was a blessing that no one was injured by the suspects," Joshi said. People who witnessed the shooting called police. The suspects' car was spotted by officers leaving the Eastmont substation, and a chase began.
During the 10-minute pursuit, the suspects got onto northbound Interstate 880 at Hegenberger Road, exited near the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and went east on San Leandro Street until they crashed into an uninvolved motorist at 85th Street. The motorist was not severely injured.
Joshi declined to say whether the suspect pointed his weapons at the officers before he was shot.
Joshi said the police radio system was down during half of the chase, which meant dispatchers could not communicate with officers but officers could talk to one another. Because of that, she said, the medical response to the shooting was delayed, though it was unclear how long. "The radio system is something we've had trouble with in the past," Joshi said.
Joshi said the officer who shot the suspect has been put on paid administrative leave for at least three days while the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and the Oakland Police Department's internal affairs division investigate the shooting.
OPD Criminals Hired By OHAPD!
July 29, 2010
(Sergeant Kenneth Nielson sits among five former Oakland Police Officers and two new Oakland Housing Authority Academy graduates being sworn into their positions as Oakland Housing Authority Police Officers on Thursday July 29, 2010 at the Oakland Housing Authority offices in Oakland Calif. Immediately after the new officers received their badges Nielson was sworn into his new position of Sergeant with the Oakland Housing Authority.)
[A] former sergeant, Marcus Santiago, with the notoriously corrupt Oakland Housing Authority Police Department has become head of the San Francisco Park Patrol. From 1985 to 1993, Santiago was an officer and supervisor with the scandal-plagued Oakland Housing Authority Police Department. Documents, interviews, and news reports show that during his time there, officers routinely beat up and stole from suspects, planted drugs on them, and lied about it in police reports and at trial. The security force was so notoriously corrupt that it became the target of local and federal investigations. Four officers went to prison. Steven Gore, the onetime Alameda County Public Defender's Office investigator whose sleuthing helped bring the corruption to light, believed there was sufficient evidence to prosecute many more. "The idea that just four of these guys went to prison and Santiago continued as a sergeant was absurd," he said.
( Former Oakland Police Officers Melissa Baddie, Mike Quijano and Qiana Johnson, left to right, pose for a personal picture after being sworn in as Oakland Housing Authority Officers at the Oakland Housing Authority Offices in Oakland Calif. on Thursday, July 29, 2010.)
A 1991 60 Minutes segment characterized the 20-person force as riddled with corruption. "They would go cruising in these cars, do an illegal search, and plant drugs on somebody, and use that as a basis to cite them and search them," said Gore, who was heavily featured in the segment. Chief Ranger Marcus Santiago has transformed the park patrol from five part-time docents into a security force of 20 officers, supervisors, and support staff charged with guarding city parks and recreational facilities. It became an overtime cash machine after he enforced a 2004 rule requiring holders of park event permits to pay rangers to staff their events. During the past two years (2008-2010) he has managed to more than double his own pay with overtime, adding an extra $151,652 to his regular salary. Santiago has a troubling past, one he may not have been fully forthright about when he applied for the chief ranger position in 2003.
[S]ix of the 80 officers laid off July 13 have been hired by the Oakland Housing Authority. Five of the six were sworn in Thursday at the housing authority's headquarters downtown and will begin regular patrol next week. Housing authority police Chief Carel J. Duplessis said the agency recently increased its force to 32 from 25 to patrol the authority's 269 properties. He said 35 laid-off Oakland officers interviewed for the jobs and the six hired "were the best candidates to support the housing authority's goals and objectives." The former Oakland officers are Melissa Baddie, Gordon Dorham, Arzo Homayun, Qiana Johnson, Michael Quijano and Alexis Nash. Their starting annual salary is about $62,400.
The 80 layoffs have in one instance possibly ended the generational legacy of one family of Oakland officers. Leah Supriano, 25, the only single mom of those laid off, is the daughter of veteran Officer Robert Supriano. There is even more uncertainty for the 21 men and women who are still going through an Alameda County Sheriff's Office academy who were originally hired by Oakland. The city has paid their tuition but they are no longer receiving a salary and have been told when they graduate in October there will be no job for them in Oakland. Because of the sheriff's academy's reputation for turning out solid professionals, they could be hired elsewhere. But their first choice was Oakland and not working there is especially difficult for a half-dozen who were cadets in Oakland. One of them is Jared Blue-Lowry, 20, who spent 18 months as a cadet.
See: Police Cover-ups: Lying is the Norm!
Witness Hit List!
July 7, 2010
OAKLAND -- Yusuf Bey IV's longtime lawyer smuggled a hit list out of jail in March that named witnesses her client wanted killed to prevent their testimony in his upcoming trial on charges of ordering journalist Chauncey Bailey and two others killed in 2007, according to court papers filed Tuesday. The attorney, Lorna Patton Brown (pictured left, standing to right of defendant Yusef Bey, IV) "smuggled written communication and materials out of Santa Rita Jail (in Dublin) without the authorization of the sheriff's department and delivered the unlawful communication to others" on six occasions, an affidavit in the filing states. It also states she has smuggled unidentified materials into the jail for Bey IV. Brown also received "documents from others and passed them on to Bey IV" in jail, the affidavit states. She resigned as his lawyer on April 16. Brown had represented Bey IV and his late father, Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey, in several felony cases. On one of the documents she smuggled out of the jail "witnesses' names had been highlighted" so that (a hit man) would know who "he would have to kill so they would not be available to testify at Bey IV's pending murder trial," states the affidavit written by Inspector Kathleen Boyovich (a liar who aides the District Attorney in false prosecutions) of the Alameda County district attorney's office. The affidavit does not say whether Brown knew why the names were highlighted. Her attorney, Spencer Strellis, declined to comment Tuesday and Brown did not return a message. She has not been charged with a crime. The penal code section cited in the affidavit is a misdemeanor.
C.J. Note: A white woman conspires to commit murder of witnesses in a criminal trial and faces only misdemeanor charges. We note the "uncle tom" cop wasn't charged at all, and retained a taxpayer funded position.
The affidavit also states that Bey IV routinely tries to circumvent recording devices during jail visits by "whispering and lip syncing." In those communications he had tried to intimidate witnesses and asked them to lie and destroy evidence, Boyovich wrote. Brown smuggled the transcript out of the jail in early March. It was in a package of "manila envelopes banded together" and addressed by Brown, "To: Rasoul Bey. From: Yusuf Bey IV." Rasoul Bey is a name sometimes used by bakery follower Gary Popoff (pictured above, left) who has described himself as Bey IV's No. 1 soldier. Brown later told investigators that she met a woman named Aishia Taylor, who is known as Ayeshia Bey, on an Oakland street corner and gave her the package, the affidavit states. She first tried to claim attorney-client privilege in the matter, then waived it, Boyovich wrote. That night, inspectors and Oakland Police pulled over Popoff and arrested him. The envelopes were on the dashboard of his car. It is not stated in court papers how investigators learned of the plot. Popoff was on parole for a drug charge. In April, a hearing officer ruled that possession of documents smuggled out of jail was a parole violation and ordered him returned to state prison. The affidavit states that Popoff and Bey IV are likely to face charges of attempting to kill witnesses. No one was harmed. Two witnesses have been relocated for their safety.
Boyovich's affidavit was included in court papers filed Tuesday in a real estate fraud case against Bey IV. He wants to represent himself in the matter. Deputy District Attorney David Lim wrote in papers he should be denied the usual privilege -- given to inmates who represent themselves -- of unrecorded phone calls "due to concerns for public and witness safety." Bey IV's attorney in the matter, Theodore Johnson, said he had not yet seen the papers and declined to comment. Also in the envelope was a note Bey IV wrote to his former common-law-wife, Tiffany Wade, stating: "I have something else I want done and it's in the letter to Gary" and urging Wade to destroy other, unidentified documents before police find them, "Please!!!" A text message was later recovered from Popoff's phone that had been sent by Bey IV's sister, Jannah Bey. "I saw 4th yesterday. He wanted me to ask (you) if (you) can copy the letter Aishah has for you in your own handwriting" and discard the original.
Boyovich wrote that before and after the six visits during which Brown smuggled papers in and out of the jail, Bey IV phoned family members and followers and told them either to get materials to Brown or that she would have materials for them. Some of those documents are related to what is described as Bey IV's attempt to get followers to launch a website for him entitled "Your Black Resurrection in America Association." A previous website, Freethebakerybrothers.com, was short-lived after the lawyers of several of his co-defendants urged their clients to take it down. Bey IV "believes the (new) website would be financially beneficial to himself and his family," Boyovich wrote. A hearing on his request to be his own lawyer is scheduled for Friday.
She also stated that Bey IV said in a recorded jail phone call to a family member that he wanted to represent himself in the real estate case so he can make unmonitored phone calls about the new website.
A change of venue motion in his triple murder case is scheduled to begin July 19. He is charged with ordering Bailey and two others, Odell Roberson and Michael Wills, shot dead. His co-defendant, Antoine Mackey is charged with helping to kill Bailey and Roberson and with shooting Wills. A then bakery follower, Devaughndre Broussard, has pleaded guilty to killing Bailey and Roberson and told a grand jury that Bey IV ordered the three killings.
Longmire - Bey Talk
Longmire - Bey Talk
September 4, 2009
In recorded jail telephone conversations calls after the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey, Yusef Bey IV seems to think of suspended police Sgt. Derwin Longmire (pictured left) as the bakery's protector. Longmire had more undocumented contact with former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and his family than previously has been made public, recorded phone calls reveal.
They include recored conversations and text messages between Longmire, the then-homicide detective and Bey IV in early 2008. The calls included Bey IV's common-law wife and sister about the Bailey case, according to phone recordings. None of the calls are mentioned in Longmire's case notes, according to copies of those documents.
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Michael Rains, Longmire's lawyer, said Bey IV (pictured left) and his family members have no credibility and that the sergeant, who is suspended with pay pending his termination, did nothing wrong. Rains insisted in an interview with the Chauncey Bailey Project on Tuesday that Longmire should be returned to duty. Rains said a decision on the firing is expected within the week.
Longmire "got calls from Bey IV," Rains said, adding that Longmire told other officers about the calls and was not hiding anything. "He knew Bey IV was responsible" for Bailey's killing but lacked enough evidence to charge him.
April 17, 2009 In October 2008, the media reported that Sgt. Derwin Longmire, OPD Homicide, failed to document in his case notes evidence that pointed to a conspiracy to kill Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey involving Yusef Bey IV. The evidence not documented included a report on a tracking device hidden on Bey IV's car that showed it parked outside Bailey's apartment seven hours before the killing. Police Department e-mails obtained under a public records act request show communication at the highest levels between the department and the district attorney's office about the Bailey case. E-mails show Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Israel e-mailed District Attorney Tom Orloff what was described as "the Bey IV document" within days of the Media's October reportage about undocumented evidence. Israel then reported to Jordan that he had sent the document, but details about the document where blacked out by the city attorney's office before its release, and the attached document was not made public. A top Oakland official credited the media with keeping alive the investigation. "The reporters are doing a better job than we are," City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said. Investigators for both the department and the state Office of the Attorney General found Longmire's relationship with the former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV was inappropriate. Longmire (pictured left) was put on paid administrative leave late Monday, April 13, 2009. An Oakland officer with deep investigative experience said, based on what he knows about Longmire's actions, that dismissal from the force is warranted. "Those are firing offenses. Everyone in the department knew there was a lot wrong with how this case was investigated," the officer said. "Not putting the tracking information in his notes" was a significant problem, the officer said. "That clearly showed that (Bey IV) was involved by driving [Devaughndre] Broussard to Bailey's house hours before the killing." Documents also showed that Longmire interfered in a 2005 investigation of Bey IV for ransacking two liquor stores. Bey IV eventually pleaded guilty. The gun used to kill Bailey was stolen from one of the stores. Longmire apparently did not document all his contacts with Bey IV, despite being ordered to because it was widely known in the department that he was "closely associated" with the bakery and the Bey family, an officer said Tuesday. Bey IV is jailed awaiting trial on a slew of criminal charges and is now publicly accuses of ordering one of his followers, Devaughndre Broussard, to kill Bailey 20 months ago.