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Attorney says ‘no proof’ Tupac murder suspect was in Vegas at time of killing

Updated April 24, 2024 - 9:32 am

The attorney for Duane Davis, a reputed gang member accused of orchestrating the 1996 killing of Tupac Shakur, said his client is not to be believed.

Defense attorney Carl Arnold said that he has yet to see proof of the murder weapon, the car involved in the drive-by shooting, or evidence that Davis was even in Las Vegas when Shakur was shot near the Strip in September 1996.

“What I’m going to argue is there’s no proof of him being here,” Arnold said after Davis appeared for a brief court hearing on Tuesday. “Just because he says he’s here, doesn’t mean that he was here.”

Davis, 60, has been held in custody in the Clark County Detention Center since he was indicted and arrested in September on a charge of murder with a deadly weapon with the intent to promote, further or assist a criminal gang.

Prosecutors have alleged that Davis, a member of the South Side Crips, authorized the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur and injured Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight.

Arnold said he is still reviewing the evidence that was sent to him by the Clark County district attorney’s office.

District Judge Carli Kierny set another status check in the case for July 23. A trial is scheduled for November.

Prosecutors have alleged that the fatal shooting was part of an ongoing feud between the South Side Crips and the Bloods-associated Mob Piru gang, and was in retaliation for a fight at the MGM Grand involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson.

The Mob Piru gang had ties to Death Row Records, while prosecutors have said that the South Side Crips were associated with Bad Boy Records, a label owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs that represented Christopher “Biggie” Wallace.

Davis has spoken publicly about his alleged involvement in the shooting in interviews posted to YouTube and in his 2019 co-written book “Compton Street Legend.”

Arnold has argued that Davis published the book to make money and that his claims when speaking to police are inconsistent.

“He himself is giving different stories,” Arnold said.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Arnold said he would consider calling Knight as a witness in the case. Knight, who was driving the car he and Shakur were riding in when Shakur was shot, is serving a 28-year prison sentence in California for running over and killing a man in January 2015.

“There’s really no witnesses with credibility in this case,” Arnold said. “The only one I would trust would probably be Suge, just because he was there.”

Arnold also said he would not consider calling Combs as a witness.

Prosecutors’ evidence includes a 2009 interview with Las Vegas police in which Davis claimed he obtained the gun used to kill Shakur from a drug dealer associated with Combs. According to transcripts of the interview, Davis tried to obtain money from the drug dealer after Shakur’s killing, but Davis said he did not receive any payment.

Arnold said he questioned the theory that Davis “conspired with Sean to murder both Suge and Tupac” and said the theory that the killing stemmed from an altercation at the MGM Grand is more likely.

“More of a spur of the moment, which makes more sense,” Arnold said.

Davis remains in jail on $750,000 bail.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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