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News / Nation & World

Ex-gang leader makes his bid in Las Vegas court for house arrest before trial in Tupac Shakur case

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press
Published: January 2, 2024, 7:47am

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Los Angeles-area gang leader charged with killing hip-hop music icon Tupac Shakur in 1996 in Las Vegas plans to ask a judge on Tuesday to release him to house arrest ahead of the trial in June.

Court-appointed lawyers for Duane “Keffe D” Davis say their 60-year-old client is in poor health, poses no danger to the community and won’t flee to avoid trial. They want the judge to set his bail at not more than $100,000.

Davis has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and has remained jailed without bail since his arrest Sept. 29 outside his home in suburban Henderson, where Las Vegas police had served a search warrant in mid-July. He is the only person ever charged with a crime in the shooting that also wounded rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Prosecutors allege in a court filing submitted last week that jail telephone recordings and a list of names provided to Davis’ family members show that there are witnesses at risk of harm if Davis was released.

They also called attention to Davis’ own words since 2008 — in police interviews, in his 2019 tell-all memoir and in the media — which provides strong evidence that he orchestrated the September 1996 drive-by shooting.

Knight, now 58, is serving 28 years in a California prison for an unrelated shooting that killed a Compton businessman in 2015.

Meanwhile Davis is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where detainees’ phone calls are routinely recorded. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in a Nevada state prison.

In a recording of an October call, prosecutors say Davis’ son said the defendant gave a “green light” authorization to kill Shakur. Prosecutors Marc DiGiacomo and Binu Palal said federal authorities “stepped in and provided resources to at least (one witness) so he could change his residence.”

There is no reference in the court filing to Davis instructing anyone to harm someone, or to anyone associated with the case being physically harmed.

One of Davis’ defense attorneys, Robert Arroyo, told The Associated Press he did not see evidence that any witness had been named or threatened.

Davis is originally from Compton, California. He maintains that he was given immunity from prosecution in 2008 by FBI agents and Los Angeles police who were investigating both the killings of Shakur in Las Vegas and rival rapper Christopher Wallace, known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, in March 1997 in Los Angeles.

Davis’ attorneys argue that his descriptions of Shakur’s killing were “done for entertainment purposes and to make money.”