Duane “Keffe D” Davis, the man charged in the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur, was ordered to await trial under house arrest, a judge ruled Tuesday. Davis will be ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device, the Associated Press reports.
Bail was set at $750,000, and Davis’ attorneys told AP they expect him to post bail.
Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, Prosecutors had argued in a court filing on Dec. 28 that Davis’ release pre-trial could endanger witnesses, as a recorded prison call between Davis and his son suggested there was a “green light” against people the prosecution planned to call to the stand at trial.
“In [Davis’] world, a ‘green light’ is an authorization to kill,” prosecutors Marc DiGiacomo and Binu Palal said in the court filing.
“This caused enough concern that the federal government stepped in and provided resources to at least [one witness] so he could change his residence,” the prosecutors wrote, calling the Oct. 9 jail call evidence of “credible threats to witnesses [that] demonstrate both a consciousness of guilt and that defendant poses a danger to the community.”
Robert Arroyo, one of Davis’ court-appointed attorneys, denied the allegations regarding the phone call. “However, after our initial review of the phone call in question, we fail to see when [witnesses] were mentioned,” Arroyo responded (via The Associated Press), “let alone threatened.”
Davis’ lawyers reiterated this in a court filing Monday, saying Davis “never threatened anyone during the phone calls” and claimed the prosecution’s “interpretation of the use of ‘green light’ is flat-out wrong.” Instead, they argued Davis and his family were the ones facing potential danger.
“Duane’s son was saying he heard there was a greenlight on Duane’s family,” the filing stated. “Duane obviously did not know what his son was talking about.”
Additionally, Arroyo asked the judge to consider the “obvious question” regarding the alleged threat Davis posed to witnesses and others: “If Duane is so dangerous, and the evidence so overwhelming, why did [police and prosecutors] wait 15 years to arrest Duane for the murder of Tupac Shakur?”
Arroyo and co-counsel were seeking a $100,000 bail for Davis to remain under house arrest until trial, citing Davis’ medical issues and that he was not receiving proper care behind bars; they claim the 60-year-old Davis is in remission after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Davis is scheduled to stand trial in Shakur’s death on June 3, 2024. Davis was first arrested and charged with murder at the end of September 2023, almost exactly 27 years after Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting.
Police said that Davis wasn’t the triggerman in the killing but that he was the leader of the group (“the shot caller”) that perpetrated the murder. Davis is the only surviving suspect left in the case. Davis’ nephew Orlando Anderson, the suspected shooter in the case, died in a shootout two years after Shakur was killed. Two other suspects, Terry Brown and Deandrae Smith, also died before they were ever charged.
Davis himself had said in several interviews that he was at the crime scene, saying in an episode of BET’s Death Row Chronicles in 2018 that he knew who killed Shakur but that he was “going to keep it for the code of the streets.” Davis also wrote about the killing in his memoir Compton Street Legend in 2019. In the book, Davis recalled Shakur reaching down in the car for a gun, “and that’s when the fireworks started,” Davis wrote. “One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.”
Davis pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement in November 2023; prosecutors subsequently announced they would not seek the death penalty in the Shakur slaying. Davis has remained behind bars without bail since his September 2023 arrest.
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