Legal setback for accused in Tupac Shakur’s 1996 murder case

In a recent development surrounding the 1996 murder of rap icon Tupac Shakur, Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis, a former Southern California street gang leader, has encountered a setback in his legal representation. Attorney Ross Goodman, who had previously spoken to the media about defending Davis, confirmed to The Associated Press that an agreement for his representation could not be reached. This news comes following a directive by a judge on October 19th, granting additional time to finalize the arrangement.

Davis, 60, who hails from Compton, California, was arrested on September 29 outside his Las Vegas home. He faces charges for orchestrating the fatal shooting of Shakur and wounding music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Davis is expected to plead not guilty, a charge that could lead to a life sentence. Shakur, who died at 25, remains an influential figure in the rap world, while Knight, now 58, is serving a 28-year sentence for a separate incident.

During his arraignment earlier this month, Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones evaluated Davis’ financial status. This assessment determines if Davis can afford private legal representation or if he should be declared indigent, necessitating a court-appointed attorney at public expense. Scott Coffee, a deputy public defender, mentioned that their office is reviewing Davis’ case, although potential conflicts of interest, such as past representations of related individuals, are being considered.

The case has also seen involvement from Edi Faal, Davis’ long-term personal lawyer, who had initially assisted in finding a defense attorney in Nevada and confirmed Goodman’s role. However, Faal has not commented on the latest developments.

This case, replete with complexities, involves no physical evidence like the gun or car used in the shooting. Goodman previously highlighted the challenges, citing the lack of witnesses from the event nearly three decades ago. The case history includes a brawl at a Las Vegas Strip casino involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, who denied involvement in Shakur’s death and was killed in 1998. Davis, in recent years, has publicly acknowledged his involvement, including in a 2019 memoir detailing his gang leadership in Compton.

Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo emphasized to the grand jury Davis’ own admission in his book, acknowledging his role in providing the weapon and being the on-site commander of the attack on Shakur and Knight, “and that he was the on-ground, on-site commander of the effort to kill Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight.” The unfolding of this case continues to attract significant attention, shedding light on a pivotal moment in music history.

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