(Las Vegas) A Nevada judge set bail at $750,000 Tuesday for a former Los Angeles-area gang leader accused of orchestrating the 1996 murder of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur , saying he could be placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring before his trial on a murder charge.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis’ court-appointed attorneys told The Associated Press after the judge’s ruling that they believed Davis could pay that amount. They had requested bail of no more than $100,000 and noted to the judge that the demands of preparing a defense based on two decades of evidence could necessitate a delay from the current June trial date.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters he expects Clark County District Judge Carli Kierny to hold a “source hearing” to determine whether the money deposited bail was legally obtained. The judge did not set a new trial date, but requested a status check on February 20.
Prosecutors Binu Palal and Marc DiGiacomo argued Tuesday that Davis never left the gang life, that his 15-year confession about his role in Tupac Shakur’s killing showed he was guilty of murder and that a prison phone call in October suggested he posed a threat to witnesses.
“There is a constant,” Mr. Palal argued to the judge. Mr. Davis has always admitted to being the architect of the murder. »
Mr. DiGiacomo called Davis “a very, very great danger to the community.”
The judge, in her ruling, acknowledged that Davis “made a living talking about his past life as the leader of the South Side Crips,” a street gang in his hometown of Compton, Calif., “and also about the murder by M. Shakur in 2007 in graphic detail.”
Robert Arroyo and his co-counsel Charles Cano argued that police and prosecutors could have arrested Davis 15 years ago but did not, and that prosecutors were mistaken in their interpretation of the jail phone call and a list of names provided to Davis’ family. Defense attorneys said it’s Davis and his family who are at risk.
Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Cano say their 60-year-old client was in poor health after battling cancer, which is in remission, and said he would not flee to avoid trial.
They also downplayed the evidence against Davis as the product of stories told by gang witnesses that made it less credible, and pointed out that the prosecution lacked evidence, including the gun and car involved. in the drive-by shooting that killed Mr. Shakur in September 1996.
Mr. Arroyo focused Tuesday on what he called “the obvious question” from 2008 and 2009 — when Davis spoke to police in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He then wrote a tell-all memoir in 2019 and began giving interviews on social media in which he described his role as gang leader and “shooter” in Mr Shakur’s death.
“If his guilt is so overwhelming, what has happened in the last 15 years,” Arroyo asked in court Tuesday. Why did we wait 15 years to make the arrest? »
Davis was arrested Sept. 29 outside his home in suburban Henderson, which Las Vegas police had searched in mid-July. He pleaded not guilty in November to first-degree murder and was jailed without bail at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where inmate phone calls are routinely recorded. If he is found guilty at trial, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Mr. Arroyo said Tuesday that his clients’ accounts in “the YouTube world” accentuate violence to attract viewers and make money.
“Conflict sells,” Mr. Arroyo argued. They participate in these interviews, they puff out their chests. They are trying to get clicks. »
Prosecutors say Davis’s own words constitute strong evidence that he is responsible for the crime, even though he did not pull the trigger. DiGiacomo said others who have described Davis’ role in media interviews and with police corroborate his accounts.
Davis is the only person still alive who was in the car from which shots were fired, fatally wounding Tupac Shakur and injuring rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Knight is serving a 28-year sentence in a California prison for an unrelated fatal shooting in the Los Angeles area in 2015.
Davis’ lawyers noted that Knight was an eyewitness to Mr. Shakur’s shooting but did not testify before the grand jury that indicted their client.
Davis claims he was granted immunity from prosecution in 2008 by an FBI and Los Angeles police task force investigating the Las Vegas killings of Mr. Shakur and rival rapper Christopher Wallace, known as name of The Notorious B. I. G. or even Biggie Smalls, six months later in Los Angeles.