Ex-gang leader seeking release from Las Vegas jail ahead of trial in 1996 killing of Tupac Shakur

Court Date Set for Tupac Murder Case

Steve Marcus

Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis makes an appearance in Clark County District Court Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Las Vegas. Davis was arrested in September and has pleaded not guilty to murder in the 1996 killing of rapper Tupac Shakur.

A former Los Angeles-area gang leader charged with murder in the killing of hip-hop music icon Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas is deriding the case against him as the product of speculation and second-hand testimony as he asks a judge to put him on house arrest ahead of his trial.

A Jan. 2 hearing date was set Tuesday on Duane “Keffe D” Davis’ bid to be released on no more than $100,000 bail. His court-appointed attorneys wrote that the health of their 60-year-old client has deteriorated in jail and that he is not getting proper medical attention following a bout with colon cancer that they said is in remission.

“His diet and lack of exercise in the jail, given his age and medical history, is negatively impacting his health,” deputy special public defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano said in the bail motion filed Thursday before Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny.

Davis, originally from Compton, California, was arrested Sept. 29 outside a Las Vegas-area home where police served a search warrant July 17.

His attorneys told the judge that Davis is married, has four children, has lived in that Henderson home for 10 years, poses no danger to the community and won’t flee to avoid prosecution. They noted that Davis did not leave town in the more than two months between the police raid and his indictment. He is scheduled for trial in June.

His bail motion attributes the indictment against Davis to incomplete accounts “based on hearsay and highly prejudicial and speculative evidence” from “witnesses with questionable credibility.”

It also maintains that Davis’ 2019 tell-all memoir and various interviews should not be used as evidence against him, including those in which he described orchestrating the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur and wounded rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Knight, now 58, is serving 28 years in a California prison for the death of a Compton businessman in 2015. He has not implicated Davis, even though Davis said in his book that the two men “locked eyes” moments before car-to-car gunfire erupted at a stop light near the Las Vegas Strip more than 27 years ago, the court filing noted.

Davis is the only person still alive who was in the vehicle from which shots were fired.

“The book and interviews were done for entertainment purposes and to make money,” the document said, adding that Davis was shielded by a 2008 agreement with the FBI and Los Angeles police that gave him immunity from prosecution in Shakur’s death.

Davis wrote in his book that 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.

Prosecutors say the Shakur shooting followed clashes between rival East Coast and West Coast groups for dominance in the musical genre dubbed “gangsta rap.” The grand jury was told that shortly before the shooting Shakur was involved in a brawl at a Las Vegas Strip casino with Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson.

Anderson, then 22, was in the car with Davis and two other men but denied involvement in Shakur’s killing. Anderson died two years later in a shooting in Compton.

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 this year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a street near where Shakur lived in Oakland, California in the 1990s was renamed recently in his honor.

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