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Ex-gang chief charged in Tupac Shakur killing pleads not responsible in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — A former Southern California road gang chief pleaded not responsible Thursday to homicide within the 1996 killing of rap music icon Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas — a cost prompted by his personal descriptions in recent times about orchestrating the lethal drive-by taking pictures.

Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis is the one individual nonetheless alive who was within the automobile from which photographs had been fired and the one individual ever charged with against the law within the case. In courtroom on Thursday, Davis stood in shackles as he awaited proceedings and waved to his spouse, son and daughter within the packed spectator gallery.

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“Not responsible,” Davis mentioned when Clark County District Courtroom Choose Tierra Jones requested for his plea.

The choose instructed Davis that prosecutors are usually not searching for the dying penalty within the case, which might put Davis in jail for the remainder of his life if he’s convicted. Jones additionally named county particular public defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano to symbolize Davis at taxpayer expense, after Davis misplaced his bid to rent non-public protection lawyer Ross Goodman.

Goodman two weeks in the past mentioned prosecutors lack witnesses and key proof, together with a gun or automobile, for the killing dedicated 27 years in the past. Outdoors the courtroom on Thursday, Goodman mentioned Davis was nonetheless attempting to rent him. Davis’ members of the family declined to remark.

Clark County District Legal professional Steve Wolfson instructed reporters that he and a panel of prosecutors determined the case towards Davis was “not the type of case that ought to proceed with the asking of the dying penalty.” He didn’t specify causes for that call.

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Wolfson additionally declined to reply to Goodman’s criticism of the proof, saying {that a} jury will weigh the outcomes of the police investigation.

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In courtroom, Davis wore dark-blue jail garb and answered a number of questions, telling the choose that he attended “a yr in school,” wasn’t underneath the affect of medicine, medicine or alcohol, and he understood he’s charged with homicide. The choose set his subsequent courtroom date for Tuesday to schedule the trial.

Davis, 60, is initially from Compton, California. He was arrested Sept. 29 exterior a house in suburban Henderson the place Las Vegas police served a search warrant July 17, drawing renewed consideration to considered one of hip-hop music’s most enduring mysteries. Davis stays jailed with out bail, didn’t testify earlier than the grand jury that indicted him, and declined from jail to talk with The Related Press.

The indictment alleges Davis obtained and supplied a gun to somebody within the again seat of a Cadillac earlier than the car-to-car gunfire that mortally wounded Shakur and wounded rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight at an intersection simply off the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur died per week later. He was 25.

Knight, now 58, is in jail in California, serving a 28-year sentence for the dying of a Compton businessman in 2015. He has not responded to messages by means of his attorneys searching for remark about Davis’ arrest.

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Prosecutors allege that Shakur’s killing in Las Vegas got here out of competitors between East Coast members of a Bloods gang sect and West Coast teams of a Crips sect, together with Davis, for dominance in a musical style dubbed “gangsta rap.”

The grand jury was instructed the Sept. 7, 1996 taking pictures in Las Vegas was retaliation for a brawl hours earlier at a Las Vegas Strip on line casino involving Shakur and Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Child Lane” Anderson.

Prosecutors instructed a grand jury that Davis implicated himself within the killing in a number of interviews and a 2019 tell-all memoir that described his life main a Crips sect in Compton. Davis has mentioned he obtained a .40-caliber handgun and handed it to Anderson, a member of Davis’ gang, within the again seat of a Cadillac, although he didn’t establish Anderson because the shooter.

Anderson, then 22, denied involvement in Shakur’s killing and died two years later in a taking pictures in his hometown of Compton. The opposite again seat passenger and the motive force of the Cadillac are additionally lifeless.

In his ebook, Davis wrote that he instructed authorities in 2010 what he knew of the killings of Shakur and gang rival Infamous B.I.G, whose authorized identify is Christopher Wallace, to guard himself and 48 of his Southside Compton Crips gang associates from prosecution and the potential of life sentences in jail.

Wallace, often known as Biggie Smalls, was shot and killed in Los Angeles in March 1997, six months after Shakur’s dying.

Shakur is basically thought-about one of the vital influential and versatile rappers of all time. He had 5 No. 1 albums, was nominated for six Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame in 2017, and obtained a posthumous star this yr on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame.

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