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‘June date not realistic’: Tupac murder trial posponed

Updated February 20, 2024 - 7:08 pm

A Las Vegas judge has postponed a murder trial date for Duane “Keffe D” Davis, the man accused of orchestrating the killing of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur.

Davis, 60, appeared for the first time in court on Tuesday since he hired a private Henderson-based attorney, Carl Arnold.

Arnold said he still needs to review the massive amount of evidence in the case, which the district attorney’s office is still in the process of providing.

“It is going to be awhile,” Arnold said. “The June date is not realistic in terms of doing a trial.”

District Judge Carli Kierny pushed back the trial, originally scheduled for early June, to Nov. 4.

Davis faces 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 reputed member of the South Side Crips, authorized the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur and injured Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight near the Strip in September 1996.

In early January, Kierny set his bail at $750,000. Although Davis’ former public defenders said they expected Davis to post bail, he has remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.

Davis told the judge Tuesday that he has family members who are “hesitant” to help him post bail because of the media presence in the case. Arnold told reporters after the hearing that Davis will be able to post bail, but that his family members are concerned about appearing publicly for a “source hearing,” which is when a judge determines where the funds for a bond are coming from.

“They just want to maintain their privacy,” Arnold said Tuesday, adding that Davis would have to come up with a surety bond of about $75,000 to be released on bail.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Davis also asked the judge if his attorney would be able to submit a petition challenging the indictment, asking for his release.

“I don’t get another shot at it?” Davis asked.

Kierny said that, unless his attorney and prosecutors reached an agreement, the deadline for Davis’ attorney to challenge the indictment had passed.

Following the hearing, Arnold told reporters they had yet to make a decision if a petition would be filed.

“We probably won’t do a habeas petition, but we’ll still review it,” he said.

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

The Mob Piru gang has 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.

During a bail hearing last month, prosecutors argued that Davis may be a danger to the community if he is released from custody. Arnold said Tuesday that Davis is retired from being a gang member, and that it’s “ridiculous” to think of him as a threat.

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

Arnold said that Davis maintains he published his book to make money, and that prosecutors have not presented sufficient evidence to prove his involvement with the shooting. He said prosecutors need to provide evidence of Davis being connected to a murder weapon, of Davis being connected to the car involved in the drive-by, and that Davis was “even in Las Vegas at the time.”

“Right now, I can be forthright and say we haven’t seen any of that evidence,” Arnold said.

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

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