The man charged in the fatal shooting of Tupac Shakur in 1996 appeared in court for the second time on Thursday, three weeks after Nevada authorities made an arrest in the hip-hop legend’s long-unsolved killing.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis, a southern California street gang leader whom authorities say orchestrated the drive-by killing, was scheduled to be arraigned in a Las Vegas courtroom. But on Thursday a judge again delayed proceedings for two weeks at the request of Davis’s lawyer.
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Attorney Ross Goodman had asked for additional time to confirm his representation. Davis plans to plead not guilty, he told media.
Speaking to reporters after the brief court hearing, Goodman said that he saw “obvious defenses” in the murder case. “There’s no gun, there’s no car and there’s no witnesses from 27 years ago.”
Davis, a 60-year-old originally from Compton, admitted to his involvement in the shooting in interviews and in a 2019 tell-all memoir that described his life as a leader of a Crips gang sect.
In the book, Davis described how he was upset with Shakur for allegedly attacking his nephew. He procured a gun, sought out Shakur and handed the weapon to passengers in the backseat just before the shooting started, he wrote in his book.
Davis is the only living person among four men who were in the car from which shots were fired at Shakur and the rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.
Shakur died a week after the shooting, at age 25. Knight was wounded but survived. Now 58, Knight is serving a 28-year prison sentence for the death of a Compton businessman in January 2015.
Prosecutors have alleged that Davis’s book narrative supports the claim that he was the “on-site commander in the effort to kill Shakur and Suge Knight”.
Davis wrote in his book: “The moral of the story, real Gangsters, are nothing to fuck with! … Them jumping on my nephew gave us the ultimate green light to do something to their ass,” he wrote, but added, “At this point in my life, I can say that I have a deep sense of remorse for what happened to Tupac. He was a talented artist with tons of potential to impact the world. I hate that Tupac’s family, friends, and fans, especially his mother, Afeni Shakur, had to go through the pain of losing her son.”
Davis’s lawyer, Goodman, is a son of the former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman and the current mayor, Carolyn Goodman. His father is a lawyer who represented mob figures including the ill-fated Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro before serving three terms as mayor.
Goodman also represented Chris Lammons, a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, when he and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanors to resolve a felony battery case stemming from a man’s beating at a Las Vegas nightclub the weekend before the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl.
Davis is the first person ever arrested in Shakur’s death. Police raided Davis’s Nevada home, drawing renewed interest in the case. The indictment also raised questions about the unsolved killing in March 1997 in Los Angeles of Notorious BIG, or Biggie Smalls.
Davis is due back in court on 2 November.