The former street gang leader charged with orchestrating the 1996 drive-by killing of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas is expected to plead not guilty Thursday to murder, amid questions of whether he’ll hire a defense lawyer or a judge will appoint a public defender.
Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis, who is described as the only person still alive who was in the vehicle from which shots were fired that night, killing Shakur, is due for arraignment in a Nevada courtroom despite losing his bid to hire local defense attorney Ross Goodman.
Goodman spoke for Davis outside court two weeks ago, saying that prosecutors lack key evidence and witnesses to the killing committed 27 years ago. The attorney didn’t give a reason Wednesday why Davis couldn’t hire him.
Davis, 60, is originally from Compton, California. He was arrested Sept. 29 outside a home in suburban Henderson where Las Vegas police served a search warrant July 17, drawing renewed attention to the unsolved murder of one of hip-hop music’s most enduring icons.
His indictment alleges Davis provided a gun to someone in the Cadillac from which car-to-car gunfire mortally wounded Shakur and wounded rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight at an intersection just off the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur died a week later at age 25.
Knight is now 58 and serving a 28-year prison sentence in California for the death of a Compton businessman in 2015.
Prosecutors allege that Shakur’s killing in Las Vegas came out of a fierce rivalry between East Coast and West Coast groups for dominance in a musical genre then dubbed “gangsta rap,” and followed a brawl at a Las Vegas Strip casino involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson.
Prosecutors told a grand jury that Davis implicated himself in the killing in multiple interviews and a 2019 tell-all memoir that described his life leading a Crips sect in Compton.