Defendant in rapper Tupac Shakur murder case back in court

Las Vegas, Nevada - The man accused of murder in connection with the gang feud slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur a quarter of a century ago was back in court Thursday.

Duane "Keefe D" Davis speaks with attorney Ross Goodman in a Las Vegas court on October 19, 2023 for his arraignment on murder charges in the death of rapper Tupac Shakur.
Duane "Keefe D" Davis speaks with attorney Ross Goodman in a Las Vegas court on October 19, 2023 for his arraignment on murder charges in the death of rapper Tupac Shakur.  © JOHN LOCHER / POOL / AFP

Duane "Keefe D" Davis (60) was charged last month over the killing, despite allegedly not being the man to wield the weapon in Las Vegas in 1996.

Thursday's hearing was intended to be an arraignment after the original hearing was delayed. Defense attorney Ross Goodman asked for the case to be postponed again, however, saying that although he was there to represent Davis, he had not been formally hired.

"I'm going to give you two weeks, but in two weeks we've got to get this case moving," District Judge Tierra Jones told him.

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At the rescheduled arraignment, Davis will be expected to enter a plea to the charge of murder with a deadly weapon with the intent to promote, further, or assist a criminal gang.

Davis has long acknowledged his involvement in the slaying, boasting that he was the "on-site commander" in the effort to kill Shakur and Death Row Records boss Marion "Suge" Knight in revenge for an assault on his nephew.

Under Nevada law, anyone who aids or abets a murder can be charged with the killing in the same way that a getaway driver can be charged with bank robbery even if he never entered the bank.

Who was rapper Tupac Shakur?

Shakur, the best-selling hip-hop artist behind hits such as "California Love," "Changes," and "Dear Mama," was a major star in the world of rap when he was gunned down on September 7, 1996 at the age of 25.

He was signed to Death Row Records, an outfit associated at the time with Los Angeles street gang Mob Piru which had a long-standing beef with the South Side Compton Crips – a group in which Davis was a key figure.

Last month prosecutors said that what happened on the night of the killing had been largely understood for many years, but that they had not had sufficient admissible evidence to advance the case.

That began to change when Davis, reportedly the only person in the car that night now still alive, published an autobiography and spoke about the crime for a TV show.

Cover photo: JOHN LOCHER / POOL / AFP

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