Duane “Keffe D” Davis, the suspect implicated in the 1996 drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur, entered a not guilty plea during his Thursday arraignment. After two delays in his arraignment due to unresolved representation issues, Davis, 60, appeared in a Las Vegas court in a blue jumpsuit and handcuffs, declaring he had not retained private counsel. Subsequently, a public defender was appointed, and Davis waived his right to a speedy trial. His next court appearance is slated for November 7.
In the proceedings, it was confirmed that the state would not seek the death penalty. Davis sought clarification from Judge Tierra Jones after she queried prosecutors about their plans for a “death review.” As the hearing concluded, Davis expressed a desire to appoint his own counsel, to which Judge Jones replied that the special public defender would represent him for the current proceedings to expedite the case.
Davis faces charges of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon and a gang enhancement, as indicted by a Clark County grand jury in September, nearly three decades after Shakur’s death. Davis was detained on September 29 near his Las Vegas-area residence.
Shakur, aged 25 at the time, succumbed to his injuries on September 7, 1996, six days after a shooting incident near the Las Vegas Strip. Police reports state that a white Cadillac pulled up beside the car Shakur was in and opened fire.
The shooting followed a confrontation at the MGM Grand involving members and affiliates of two rival gangs from Compton, California – Mob Piru Bloods and South Side Compton Crips. Authorities have indicated that Davis, who has publicly admitted to being in the Cadillac during the incident, held a leading role in the Crips and is alleged to have masterminded the “retaliatory shooting” that resulted in Shakur’s death. Although not accused of personally shooting Shakur, Davis is suspected of authorizing the act and providing the firearm used.
Davis remains the sole living suspect in the case. The investigation, which had been cold for years, was “reinvigorated” in 2018 following Davis’ own admissions regarding his involvement in the homicide, as reported by various media outlets, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. Jason Johansson.