Duane Keith “Keefe D” Davis, the man charged in September with murdering Tupac Shakur in 1996, was arraigned in a Nevada court today. Davis attended the arraignment without private legal representation, after he failed to meet the terms of an agreement with his original attorney, Ross Goodman. With public defenders Robert Arroyo and Charles Cano instead representing him, Davis pleaded not guilty to murder, according to The Associated Press.
Davis has admitted in interviews and in his memoir that he was in the Cadillac from which Shakur was shot, but contends that another person fired the fatal shots. He now faces charges of murder with use of a deadly weapon and intent to promote, further, or assist a criminal gang. He is the first person to be arrested in direct connection with the killing—a breakthrough in a case that stumped investigators for decades. The arrest on September 29 followed the execution of a search warrant at his wife’s home in Henderson, Nevada, in July, related to the investigation.
Davis’ original lawyer said last month that he saw “obvious defenses” for his then-client, including that the prosecution can put forward neither witnesses, the gun, nor the car. The other three men in the car with Davis at the time of the shooting have all since died. But Davis has admitted he was involved in the murder, and prosecutors now allege that he was “the on-ground, on-site commander of the effort to kill Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight,” citing evidence including Davis’ own memoir.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against Davis, but could seek life in prison if he is convicted.