Duane “Keffe D” Davis, a self-declared gang leader implicated in the assassination of rap superstar Tupac Shakur, experienced a momentary reprieve during his succinct arraignment in a Las Vegas courtroom on Thursday.
The authorities confirmed that they would not pursue capital punishment for the suspected involvement of Davis in Shakur’s homicide. The now 60-year-old Davis is accused of masterminding the drive-by assassination that claimed the life of the 25-year-old lyrical savant on September 7, 1996. Davis was apprehended at his Las Vegas residence on September 29, following his indictment by a grand jury for murder committed with a deadly weapon, an indictment that permitted prosecutors to take aim at the death sentence.
Adorning a deep blue prison-issued garb and shackled in handcuffs and chains, Davis stood before District Judge Tierra Jones, offering a plea of not guilty. Consequently, his case was handed off to special public defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano. Davis was unable to finalize a financial agreement with his former defense attorney Ross Goodman, the offspring of present Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and previous Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, since his preceding arraignment a fortnight earlier.
Investigators had allegedly struggled with reluctant witnesses and mountains of inconsistent evidence, which had stagnated the long-standing case, until a resurgence in 2019. Davis reignited the case when he confessed in his self-published memoir, Compton Street Legend, to have had a part in Shakur’s notorious murder. He divulged that he had given a .40-caliber handgun, the purported murder weapon, to his nephew and suspected assassin, Orlando Anderson.
On July 17, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Davis’ Las Vegas domicile. They confiscated numerous items of interest, such as documents, pictures, news articles, several .40-caliber bullets, and a copy of the incriminating memoir.
Davis stands as the sole individual ever indicted in this notorious case, and he’s the only suspect left alive. Anderson was interviewed but never prosecuted, and he lost his life in a gang-related shootout at a Compton, California carwash in 1998. Two other suspects, believed to have been in the white Cadillac from which the fatal bullets were fired, Terry Brown and Deandrae “Big Dre” Smith, passed away without facing any charges. Brown was slain at a Compton cannabis outlet in 2015, while Smith succumbed to obesity-related complications in 2004.
Presently, 58-year-old Knight is serving a 28-year sentence in a California prison for a separate manslaughter conviction and has consistently declined to contribute to the Shakur murder inquiry.
Currently, Davis is incarcerated without the possibility of bail. Judge Jones has scheduled a status check-in for November 7, when it is anticipated that a trial date will be established. Davis relinquished his right to a trial within 60 days.