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Ex-gang leader accused of killing Tupac Shakur allowed under house arrest

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada judge set bail at $750,000 Tuesday for the former Los Angeles-area gang leader accused of orchestrating the 1996 killing of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur, saying he could be placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring ahead of a murder trial. told. charge.

Court-appointed attorneys for Duane “Keffe D” Davis told The Associated Press after the judge’s ruling that they believed Davis could post that amount. They had requested bail of no more than $100,000 and told the judge that their request to prepare a defense based on two decades of evidence might require a postponement of 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 posted for bail was obtained legally. The judge did not set a new trial date but called for a status check on February 20.

Prosecutors Binu Palal and Marc DiGiacomo argued Tuesday that Davis never abandoned gang life, that his 15-year-old confessions to his role in Shakur’s killing showed he was guilty of murder and that a phone call from prison in October suggested he posed a threat to witnesses. .

“There is only one constant,” Palal told the judge. “Mr. Davis has repeatedly admitted to being the architect of the murder.”

DiGiacomo called Davis “a very, very great danger to society.”

In his ruling, the judge acknowledged that Davis “earned his living by recounting his past life as the leader of the South Side Crips, a street gang in his hometown of Compton, California, as well as the 2015 murder of Mr. Shakur.” Graphic detail.”

Arroyo and co-counsel Charles Cano argued that police and prosecutors could have arrested Davis 15 years ago but did not, and that prosecutors were wrong in their interpretation of the jailhouse phone call and the list of names given to Davis’ family. Defense attorneys said Davis and his family were the ones at risk.

Arroyo and Cano said their 60-year-old client is in poor health after battling cancer in remission and will not flee to avoid trial.

They also downplayed the evidence against Davis as the product of unconvincing stories told by witnesses with gang backgrounds and noted that the prosecution lacked evidence, including the gun and car involved in the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur in September 1996.

Arroyo focused Tuesday on what he called “the obvious question” dating back to 2008 and 2009, when Davis spoke to police in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He went on to write a tell-all memoir in 2019 and began giving interviews on social media in which he described his role as the gang leader and “hitter” in Shakur’s death.

“If the guilt is this heavy, what has been going on for 15 years?” Arroyo asked that question in court Tuesday. “Why did we wait 15 years for an arrest?”

Davis was arrested Sept. 29 outside his home in suburban Henderson, which Las Vegas police searched in mid-July. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in November and is incarcerated without bail at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where detainees’ phone calls are routinely recorded. If he is found guilty at trial, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Arroyo argued Tuesday that his client’s accounts in the “YouTube world” emphasize violence to attract viewers and make money.

“Conflict sells,” Arroyo said. “They go on these interviews, puffing their chests out. They are trying to get clicks.”

Prosecutors say Davis’ own words are strong evidence that he was responsible for the crime, even if he didn’t pull the trigger. DiGiacomo said other media interviews and others who told police about Davis’ role confirmed his statements.

Davis was the only person still alive in the car where shots were fired, fatally wounding Shakur and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Knight is serving 28 years in a California prison for an unrelated fatal shooting in the Los Angeles area in 2015.

Davis’ attorneys stated that Knight was an eyewitness to the Shakur attack but did not testify before the grand jury that indicted their client.

Davis argues that he was granted immunity from prosecution in 2008 by the FBI and a Los Angeles police task force investigating the killings six months later in Las Vegas of Shakur and rival rapper Christopher Wallace, known as The Notorious B.I.G., or Biggie Smalls.

DiGiacomo and Palal say any immunity deal is limited. Last week, they presented the court with an audio recording of a meeting with the task force in December 2008; They said that during this meeting, Davis was told that what he said in the room would not be used against him, but that he could be charged if he talked to others. in legal danger.

Davis’ attorneys responded by citing the publication of a book written 12 years ago by former Los Angeles Police detective Greg Kading, who participated in those interviews.

“Duane is not concerned,” the attorneys said, “because his alleged involvement in Shakur’s death has been public since 2011.”

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