The former leader of a southern street gang California He pleaded not guilty on Thursday to murdering the rap icon Tupac Shakurthat took place in Las Vegas in 1996, a charge that arose from his own descriptions in recent years of orchestrating deadly drive-by shootings.
Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis is the only person still alive in the car from which the shooting took place and the only person charged with a crime in the case. In court Thursday, Davis remained in handcuffs and greeted his wife, son and daughter in a packed courtroom.
“innocent”Davis said when the district judge of Clark County CourtTierra Jones, requested her statement.
The judge told Davis that prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty in the case, which could send Davis to prison for the rest of his life if convicted. Jones also appointed the county’s special public defenders, Robert Arroyo y Charles Canoto represent Davis at taxpayer expense, after Davis lost his bid to hire private defense counsel Ross Goodman.
Goodman said two weeks ago that prosecutors lacked key witnesses and evidence, including a gun or vehicle, for the killing that took place 27 years ago. Outside court on Thursday, Goodman said Davis is still trying to hire him. Relatives of Davis declined to comment.
The Clark County District Attorney, Steve Wolfs ontold reporters that he and a panel of prosecutors decided the case against Davis “Not the type to pursue a death penalty plea”. He did not specify the reasons for the decision.
Wolfson also refused to respond to Goodman’s criticism. of evidence, saying a jury will weigh the results of the police investigation.
In court, Davis wore a dark blue prison uniform and answered several questions, with the judge present telling him “one year at university”that he was not under the influence of drugs, medication or alcohol, and that he understood that he was accused of murder.
The judge set his next court date for Tuesday to schedule a trial.
Davis, 60, from Compton, California. He was arrested on September 29 outside a house in the suburbs of Hendersonwhere Las Vegas police served a search warrant on July 17, bringing new attention to one of hip hop’s most enduring mysteries.
Davis remains jailed without bail, has not testified before the grand jury that charged him and has refused to speak from jail. The Associated Press.
The indictment alleges that Davis obtained and handed a gun to a man in the back seat of a Cadillac before the fatal car-to-car shooting. Shakur and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight at an intersection near the Las Vegas strip. Shakur died a week ago at the age of 25.
KnightNow 58, in prison in California, serving a 28-year sentence for the death of a Compton businessman in 2015. He did not respond to messages from his Attorneys sought comment on Davis’ arrest.
Prosecutors alleged that Shakur’s murder in Las Vegas stemmed from a rivalry between members of the East Coast Bloods gang group and members of the West Coast Crips gang group, including Davis, for dominance in a musical genre called. “gangsta rap” (gangster rap).
The grand jury was told that Sept. 7, 1996, Las Vegas shooting was in retaliation for a fight hours earlier at a Las Vegas casino involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson.
Prosecutors told the grand jury that Davis was implicated in the killing through multiple interviews and a tell-all memoir of 2019 depicting his life leading the Crips in Compton.
Davis said he got a .40 caliber pistol and handed it to Anderson, a member of Davis’ gang, in the back seat of a Cadillac, although he did not identify Anderson as the shooter.
Anderson, who is 22 years old, Denies involvement in Shakur’s murder and died two years later in a shooting in his hometown of Compton. Another passenger in the back seat and the driver of the Cadillac were also killed.
In his book, Davis wrote that he told authorities in 2010 what he knew about the murders. Shakur and on Notorious BIGfamous rapper and rival gang member, whose legal name is Christopher Wallace, to protect himself and 48 of his Southside Compton Crips gang associates from possible trials and life sentences in prison.
Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls, was shot to death in Los Angeles in March 1997, six months after Shakur’s death.
Shakur is widely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time. He has five No. 1 albums, nominated for six Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 and received a posthumous star this year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.