By KEN RITTER
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A former Southern California street gang leader charged with killing rap icon Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas in 1996 is expected Tuesday to learn the date for his murder trial, probably next year.
Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis won't face the death penalty but could be sentenced to life in prison if he’s convicted of one of hip-hop’s most talked-about killings. He pleaded not guilty last Thursday and remains jailed in Las Vegas.
In recent years, Davis said in interviews and a 2019 tell-all memoir that he orchestrated the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur at age 25 and wounded rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.
Knight, now 58, is serving 28 years in a California prison for the death of a Compton businessman in 2015.
Davis is the only person still alive who was in the vehicle from which shots were fired. He has also said he was diagnosed with cancer.
Prosecutors say the shooting followed clashes between rival East Coast and West Coast groups for dominance in the musical genre dubbed “gangsta rap." The grand jury was told that Shakur was involved in a brawl at a Las Vegas Strip casino with Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, shortly before the shooting.
Anderson, then 22, denied involvement in Shakur’s killing. He died two years later in a shooting in Compton.
Davis implicated himself during multiple interviews and his memoir that described his life leading a Crips gang sect in Compton.
He wrote that he was promised immunity from prosecution in 2010 when he told authorities in Los Angeles what he knew about the fatal shootings of Shakur and rival rapper Christopher Wallace six months later in Los Angeles. Wallace was known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls.
A street near where Shakur lived in Oakland, California, in the 1990s was renamed last Friday in his honor.