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Judge grants bail for suspect in Tupac Shakur slaying

Updated January 9, 2024 - 6:45 pm

A Las Vegas judge on Tuesday set bail at $750,000 for the man accused of orchestrating the 1996 slaying of Tupac Shakur.

Duane “Keffe D” Davis, a 60-year-old reputed member of the South Side Crips, has been held at the Clark County Detention Center since he was indicted in September on a murder charge.

Davis’ attorneys said outside of court that they believed he would be able to post bail, but they were unsure when that would occur.

Special Public Defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano have argued that statements Davis has made about the case in interviews and his own co-written book were for financial gain and “entertainment purposes.”

While setting bail during a lengthy hearing on Tuesday, District Judge Carli Kierny ordered Davis to house arrest on high-level electronic monitoring should he post bail.

“He was pleased that she set a bail on this case,” Cano told reporters after the hearing.

Prosecutors have accused Davis of authorizing the drive-by shooting near Flamingo Road and Koval Lane that killed Shakur and wounded Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight in September 1996. The killing was part of a feud between the South Side Crips and the Mob Piru Gang and was in retaliation for a fight involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson, prosecutors have alleged.

The Mob Piru Gang have been tied to Death Row Records, while prosecutors have said the South Side Crips were associated with Bad Boy Records, the label that represented Christopher “Biggie” Wallace.

Davis wrote about his ties to the case in his 2019 co-written book “Compton Street Legend.” He has also given interviews about the killing that have been posted to YouTube, and have been used as evidence by prosecutors.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo argued Tuesday that Davis could be a danger to the community if he is released from custody. He repeated allegations that witnesses in the case could be in danger, as shown in jail calls Davis has made from the detention center.

DiGiacomo said that in the jail calls between Davis and his son, there was a vague mention of a “green-light authorization,” which prosecutors have said means the “authority to kill.” Prosecutors alleged that Davis obtained a list of witnesses in the case, which included a “high-ranking” Mob Piru member, and that he mailed the list to his son.

“The photograph of the list was then distributed for what can only be surmised as a means of dissuasion,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

DiGiacomo said Tuesday that witnesses associated with Mob Piru could now be in danger from fellow gang members.

“He doesn’t need to issue an order, he just needs to prove to the world that they talked to the police, and every one of them is at risk of death,” DiGiacomo told the judge on Tuesday.

Prosecutors did not claim that Davis directly threatened anyone, but did note that federal agents have provided money for one of the witnesses to move locations because of the case.

Davis’ attorneys have said in an emailed statement that they reviewed the jail calls, and failed to determined “when any of the witnesses were mentioned, let alone threatened.”

Arroyo told the judge that in his interpretation of the jail call, he believed Davis may have been concerned about a “green light” issued against his own family. He claimed that many of the people named in the witness list have been giving public interviews on YouTube for years about the case.

“The way that Mr. DiGiacomo characterizes it, I think is unfair and inaccurate,” Arroyo said Tuesday.

The judge said she believes there are “credible threats” in the case.

“I don’t believe that the FBI is stepping in and providing coverage and assistance for people in situations where they don’t think it’s a credible threat,” Kierny said.

Kierny said she considered the alleged threats when setting bail, and that she had to “give credence” to Davis’ multiple, public statements about his involvement in the case.

If Davis posts bail, the judge will hold a “source hearing” to determine who is providing the money for his bond, and where the funds are coming from, said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

“I respect the judge’s decision,” Wolfson said about the bail amount.

During the hearing, Davis’ attorneys also pointed out inconsistencies in witness statements that have been made throughout the years.

Wolfson said that although there may be inconsistencies in the statements, “it doesn’t mean they’re not reliable.”

“It doesn’t mean that when he made these multiple statements admitting his role in the killing, that he wasn’t telling the truth,” Wolfson said.

Davis’ trial is currently scheduled to move forward in June. Both the defense and prosecutors have said there is a massive amount of discovery to be reviewed in the case, and Wolfson said Tuesday that he would not be surprised if the trial is delayed.

Kierny ordered Davis to appear in court again for a status check on Feb. 20.

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

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