Fri | Apr 19, 2024

November 4 trial date

Ex-gang leader’s murder trial in Tupac Shakur killing pushed back

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2024 | 12:13 AM
Duane ‘Keefe D’ Davis
Duane ‘Keefe D’ Davis


A trial date has been pushed back from June to November for a former Los Angeles-area gang leader charged with killing hip-hop music icon Tupac Shakur in 1996 in Las Vegas, and his new attorney said Tuesday that he expects to be able to post bail soon to be released from jail to house arrest.

Duane ‘Keefe D’ Davis stood in custody and told Clark County District Court Carli Kierny that people who are willing to help him post US$750,000 bail don’t want to appear in court for a “source hearing” to show that the money was legally obtained.

“I’ve got family that is hesitant to come in here and help me out on the bail because of the media and the circus that’s going on,” Davis said.

Davis, 60, is originally from Compton, California. He is the only person still alive who was in a car from which shots were fired in September 1996, killing Shakur and wounding rap mogul Marion ‘Suge’ Knight in another car at a traffic signal near the Las Vegas Strip. Knight, now 58, is serving 28 years in a California prison for an unrelated fatal shooting in the Los Angeles area in 2015.

Kierny acknowledged that Davis’ lawyer, Carl Arnold, was new to Davis’ case and that prosecutors are still providing evidentiary material to the defence. She reset the trial date from June 3 to November 4.

Arnold told reporters outside the courtroom that he believed Davis may be able this week to finish raising the 10 per cent bail amount, or US$75,000, to obtain a bail bond and be freed to house arrest with electronic monitoring. A source hearing could take place within 30 days, he said.

Davis was arrested in September, 27 years after the Shakur killing, outside his home in suburban Henderson. He pleaded not guilty in November to first-degree murder and has remained jailed at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors say they have strong evidence that Davis incriminated himself during police and media interviews since 2008, and in his own 2019 tell-all memoir of life leading a Compton street gang.

Arnold on Tuesday echoed comments by Davis’ previous attorneys, telling reporters that Davis wrote the book to make money, as others including a police investigator had done. He also noted that police and prosecutors do not have a murder weapon or the car from which shots were fired. He said the state will have to prove that Davis was in Las Vegas the night Shakur was shot.

Davis wrote that he was promised immunity from prosecution in 2010 when he told authorities in Los Angeles what he knew about the fatal shootings of Shakur and rival rapper Christopher Wallace six months later in Los Angeles. Wallace was known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls.

Shakur had five No. 1 albums, was nominated for six Grammy Awards and was inducted in 2017 into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He received a posthumous star last year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.