Defendant in Tupac Shakur Killing Loses Defense Lawyer Ahead of Arraignment

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Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis, the former street gang leader charged with masterminding the 1996 drive-by killing of Tupac Shakur, is slated to appear in court on Thursday (Nov. 2) for his arraignment in the case. According to the Associated Press, however, it’s unclear if Davis will have a lawyer representing him during the appearance after losing his bid to be represented in court by the lawyer who spoke out in public about his defense two weeks ago.

Attorney Ross Goodman said on Oct. 19 that he saw “obvious defenses” in the murder case, pointing out that police and prosecutors do not have a murder weapon or the car used in the shooting, as well as “no witnesses from 27 years ago.” Prosecutors have said that Davis is the last person alive who was in the car that night.

Goodman told the AP on Wednesday (Nov. 1) that Davis, 60, could not meet terms of an agreement that the judge in the case gave two weeks to hash out on Oct. 19; Goodman did not specify what was holding up such an agreement. When Davis appears in court today, Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones could order a financial accounting of Davis’ assets to determine if he can afford a lawyer of if she needs to declare him indigent and name a public defender to handle the case.

A deputy in the Clark County public defender’s office told the AP that they are reviewing the case to determine if they can represent Davis or if they have a conflict of interest such as representing other people involved in the case in the past. The judge may also name a private practice defense attorney to represent Davis at taxpayers’ expense, or assign a public defender from the county.

“We’re just not sure at this point how this will play out and who will end up representing him,” said Jordan Savage, assistant special public defender. Davis’ longtime Los Angeles personal lawyer, Edi Faal, said he expected a public defender would be named to defend Davis; Faal previously said he was helping Davis find a defense attorney in Nevada and confirmed Goodman’s involvement two weeks ago. Davis is expected to plead not guilty to the murder charge, which could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

Davis was arrested outside his suburban Las Vegas home on Sept. 29 on the same day an indictment was filed against him accusing the self-proclaimed street gang leader of orchestrating the shooting that killed Shakur, 25, and wounded his label boss, imprisoned music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Davis’ nephew, gang member Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, 23, was involved in a brawl with Shakur in a Las Vegas casino on the night of the shooting and denied being involved in the shooting; he was killed in a May 1998 shooting in Compton and the other two men in the car with Davis and Anderson are also dead. Davis, meanwhile, has discussed his alleged role Shakur’s death in interviews as well as in a 2019 tell-all memoir describing his time as a Crips gang leader in Compton, including claiming that he provided the gun, was in the car and was the “on-ground, on-site commander of the effort” to kill Skakur and Knight that night.

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