source : www.perthnow.com.au
A former Southern California street gang leader has pleaded not guilty to murdering rap music icon Tupac Shakur in 1996 in Las Vegas — a charge prompted by his own accounts in recent years of orchestrating the deadly drive-by shooting.
Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis is the only living person who was in the vehicle from which the shooting occurred and the only person ever charged with a crime in the case.
On Thursday, Davis stood in court in handcuffs as he awaited the proceedings and waved to his wife, son and daughter in the packed spectator gallery.
“Not guilty,” Davis said when Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones asked for his plea.
The judge told Davis that prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in this case, which could leave Davis in prison for the rest of his life if convicted.
In court, Davis wore dark blue prison scrubs and answered several questions, telling the judge that he had spent “a year in college,” was not under the influence of drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol, and that he understood he was being charged with murder . The judge set his next court date for Tuesday to schedule the trial.
Davis, 60, is originally from Compton, California. He was arrested on September 29 at a home in suburban Henderson, where Las Vegas police served a search warrant on July 17, drawing renewed attention to one of hip-hop music’s most enduring mysteries.
Davis remains jailed without bail and has not testified before the grand jury that indicted him.
The indictment alleges that Davis obtained a gun and gave it to someone in the backseat of a Cadillac before the car-on-car gunfire that fatally wounded Shakur and rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight at an intersection near the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur died a week later. He was 25.
Knight, now 58, is in prison in California serving a 28-year sentence for the 2015 death of a Compton businessman. He did not respond to messages from his attorneys seeking comment on Davis’ arrest.
Prosecutors allege that Shakur’s murder in Las Vegas stemmed from competition between East Coast members of a Bloods gang sect and West Coast groups of a Crips cult, including Davis, for dominance in a musical genre called “gangsta rap.” is called.
The grand jury was told that the September 7, 1996 shooting in Las Vegas was in retaliation for a brawl hours earlier at a casino on the Las Vegas Strip involving Shakur and Davis’ cousin, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson.
Prosecutors told a grand jury that Davis implicated himself in the killing in multiple interviews and a tell-all 2019 memoir that detailed his life as the leader of a Crips cult in Compton. Davis has said he obtained a .40-caliber handgun and handed it to Anderson, a member of Davis’ gang, in the backseat of a Cadillac, although he did not identify Anderson as the shooter.
Anderson, then 22, denied involvement in Shakur’s murder and died two years later in a shooting in his hometown of Compton. The other backseat passenger and the driver of the Cadillac are also dead.
source : www.perthnow.com.au