Duane “Keffe D” Davis, who was arrested last September for the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur, has been granted bail, and will serve out house arrest as he awaits trial. Davis’ bail was set at $750,000, and he will wear an ankle bracelet to allow authorities to monitor his location.
First reported by the Associated Press, the ruling came down in a Las Vegas courthouse on Jan. 9. Davis had been in the news in late December after Las Vegas Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo claimed that Davis was notified about "an authorization to kill" a potential witnesses for the upcoming trial. Davis’ lawyers denied the allegations, and argued that Davis is in poor health after recovering from a cancer battle, and would not be a flight risk.
While prosecutors pointed to Davis’ repeated claims of his own involvement in the murder, both through interviews and in his book, Compton Street Legend, Davis’ attorneys argued that his comments were essentially entertainment, and asked why, “if the evidence (of his guilt) was so overwhelming,” it took so long for Las Vegas police to arrest and charge him.
“Conflict sells,” Davis’ attorney Robert Arroyo said, according to the AP. “They get on these interviews, they puff out their chest. They’re trying to get clicks.”
The trial is still expected to begin next June, though the judge ordered Davis to return to court on Feb. 20 for a status check.
Davis, a 60-year-old former Los Angeles gang member, was arrested at his home in Henderson, Nev., on Sept. 29, with prosecutors calling Davis the “shot-caller” for Shakur’s murder. The arrest was the first in what had long been one of the most infamous unsolved murders in modern American history.
In Las Vegas to attend a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand on Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur was riding passenger-side in a BMW with Death Row Records chief Suge Knight when a white Cadillac pulled up alongside the vehicle and fired shots into the car. Shakur was hit with four bullets, and after being placed in a medically-induced coma, succumbed to his injuries six days later at the age of 25.
Davis’ alleged involvement in the crime had long been a matter of discussion, after the former member of the South Side Compton Crips gang allegedly admitted in a 2009 proffer session with LAPD investigators that he had been in the white Cadillac when his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, fired the shots that killed Shakur. Hours prior to the shooting, Shakur had confronted Anderson in the MGM lobby over a dispute with one of his associates, and a brawl ensued. Questioned and later dismissed by investigators in the aftermath of Shakur’s death, Anderson publicly denied any involvement in the shooting, and was murdered two years later in an unrelated incident. Davis later made frequent headlines with TV appearances in which he spoke of his involvement in the crime.
At the time of his murder, Shakur was one of the most popular rappers in the world, and he has remained so for much of the past quarter century. The subject of countless biographies, biopics and documentaries, Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and became only the third hip-hop artist to have a song included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. His albums have sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide.