Former gang member, Duane Davis, popularly known as Keefe D, who had claimed involvement in the murder of rap icon Tupac Shakur 25 years ago, has pleaded not guilty to the charges in a US court.
Davis, a former member of Compton’s South Side Crips gang, faced charges related to the killing in Las Vegas, despite not being the person with the weapon that fateful night.
He had previously boasted of being the “on-site commander” in the effort to avenge an assault on his nephew by orchestrating the murder of Tupac Shakur and Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight.
Under Nevada law, anyone aiding or abetting a murder can be charged with the killing, similar to how a getaway driver can be charged with a bank robbery even if they never entered the bank.
Tupac Shakur, known for his hit songs like “California Love” and “Dear Mama,” was a prominent figure in the rap world when he was fatally shot on September 7, 1996, at the age of 25. He was signed to Death Row Records, which had a historical rivalry with the South Side Compton Crips, the gang to which Davis belonged.
Prosecutors had struggled to advance the case due to a lack of admissible evidence until Davis, reportedly the only surviving person in the car that night, published an autobiography and discussed the crime on a TV show.
Tupac’s sister, Sekyiwa Shakur, previously said Keefe D’s arrest “is no doubt a pivotal moment” after years of no movement on the case. “It’s important to me that the world, the country, the justice system, and our people acknowledge the gravity of the passing of this man, my brother, my mother’s son, my father’s son,” said Set, who is also president of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.
She continued; “His life and death matter and should not go unsolved or unrecognized, so yes, today is a victory but I will reserve judgment until all the facts and legal proceedings are complete.”
The case continues to draw attention, shedding light on a dark chapter in the history of hip-hop and gang violence in the 1990s.