The comments came during a secretly taped conversation Bey IV had Aug. 6 with two fellow bakery members in a San Leandro Police Department interview room, Jesse Grant, the lead investigator on the case, testified Thursday during a preliminary hearing in the trial.
The conversation occurred while Bey IV and bakery members Tamon Halfin and Joshua Bey were purposely placed in the same room in a ruse devised by Grant and fellow officers in hopes of overhearing the trio speak about the crime they are accused of committing.
Grant said the ruse worked, and the trio discussed the crime and plotted a strategy on how to avoid conviction.
Grant said Bey IV coached the others on how to respond to police questions and told them they should say their confessions were coerced. Police recorded the conversation on audio and videotape, Grant testified. The tapes were not played in court.
Bey IV, 22; Yusuf Bey V, 21; Halfin, 21; and Richard Lewis, 23, are accused of using a fake police cruiser to kidnap and torture two women on May 18, 2007, in hopes of finding money they believed the women had.
One of Bey IV's half brothers, Joshua Bey, now 20, was also charged in the crime but took a plea deal earlier this year in exchange for his testimony against the group.
In the course of the police investigation into the case, Oakland officers devised a plan to place Bey IV, Halfin and Joshua Bey in the same room in hopes of eavesdropping on their conversation.
The officers took the men to the San Leandro Police Department for interviews. While the three were inside, another officer went outside and deflated a tire on a police car. When the three suspects were taken back outside, the officers showed the suspects the flat tire, then took them back inside, telling them officers needed to fix the flat. For the next two hours, officers watched as the three suspects talked together in the interview room.
At one point, Halfin said he was worried because he believed an Oakland officer responding to the kidnapping and torture scene saw him sitting in a car near the home where the women were held, Grant said.
Bey IV asked why Halfin didn't just shoot the officer, then promised to take care of the situation, Grant said.
"He (Bey IV) said they had some heavy hitters to take care of this and he said he would have to sacrifice another good solider," Grant said. "(Bey IV) said the officer would be too scared to testify."
But Bey IV's attorney, Theodore Johnson, theorized the trio was trying to trick police. Johnson asked Grant whether his client knew they were being watched.
Grant admitted that by the end of the two hours, Bey IV was "tampering" with the hidden camera.
"He was touching it," Grant said. "He may have been tampering with it, but not known what it was."
Grant also admitted that Bey IV cautioned his fellow bakery members, once they entered the room, that the police might be watching.
"They may have, at the beginning, they may have said something like be careful, (the police) might be listening," Grant said.
Johnson responded, "Maybe they were playing with you."
Reach Paul Rosynsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-208-6455.