Tupac Murder Suspect Hires New Lawyer Reprimanded by State Bar

Posted on: January 22, 2024, 06:29h. 

Last updated on: January 23, 2024, 10:48h.

Duane Davis, the former Compton gang leader charged in the 1996 slaying of rap legend Tupac Shakur, has swapped his court-appointed counsel for a private attorney. The new counsel has twice been sanctioned by the Nevada State Bar.

Duane Keith "Keffe D" Davis
Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis appears in a Las Vegas courtroom in November. (Image: Getty)

Carl Arnold, a veteran attorney who specializes in representing the relatives of people killed by police, has been sanctioned twice by the Nevada State Bar during his 20-year career. Arnold was first reprimanded in 2018 for failing to properly file documents in an appeal to the state Supreme Court. He then was sanctioned again in 2021 for failing to represent a defendant in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Each sanction resulted in a written reprimand and a $1,500 fine.

Arnold said in a statement to the Associated Press that he was “honored by the opportunity to represent Mr. Duane Davis in what will be one of the most historic trials of the century.”

Davis, 60, was arrested on Sept. 29, 2023, after being indicted for Shakur’s murder by a grand jury. Though his bail was set at $750K on January 9, he has remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center since his arrest. Arnold said his client expects to post bail soon.

Davis, also known as “Keffe D,” is the only person ever charged in this case, and the only surviving person who rode in the car from which the shots were fired on Sept. 7, 1996, that killed Shakur and wounded rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Orlando Anderson, Davis’ nephew, was questioned but never charged in connection with the crimes. He died two years later in a gang-related shootout at a Compton, Calif. car wash. Two other men were suspected of riding in the white Cadillac from which Shakur was shot through the rear left window. Driver Terry Brown and Deandrae “Big Dre” Smith also died without being charged.

“We look forward to Mr. Davis being found not guilty at the conclusion of his trial,” Arnold’s statement read.

Prosecutors claim Davis implicated himself as the “shot-caller” behind the murder during accounts in his self-published 2019 book, in an interview for a BET documentary in 2017, and to a joint FBI and Los Angeles Police Department task force in 2008. Davis maintains that he was promised immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperating with the task force.

Arnold said his client “cannot be convicted solely on the basis of his confessions” because prosecutors must provide corroborating evidence proving Davis’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If Davis posts bail, he will remain under house arrest with strict electronic monitoring.