He is a former Southside Compton Crips gang member and one of the last people ever to see rapper Tupac Shakur alive.
Now Duane “Keffe D” Davis has been arrested and charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon in the 1996 killing of the renowned rapper on the Las Vegas strip.
Mr Davis was arrested by police near his home on the outskirts of Las Vegas on Friday 29 September, hours after a grand jury returned an indictment against him.
Prosecutors then appeared in court where they described him as the “on-ground, on-site commander” who “ordered the death” of Shakur.
Casino brawl sparked the killing
Tupac Shakur had been in Las Vegas with Suge Knight on 7 September 1996 for Mike Tyson’s WBA heavyweight championship fight against Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand.
Before the fight Tupac and his bodyguards had got into an altercation of their own, brawling with gang member Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson.
Prosecutors now say that Mr Davis “formulated a plan to exact revenge upon Mr Knight and Mr Shakur” in his nephew’s defence.
Duane Davis says fatal shooting took place from white Cadillac
On leaving the MGM Grand, Tupac and Knight drove along the strip in their BMW and stopped at a red light at an intersection.
A white Cadillac pulled up beside them and opened fire.
Tupac was shot four times with one of the bullets piercing his lung. He died six days later in hospital.
In both the 2018 Netflix documentary Unsolved: The Tupac and Biggie Murders and in his book Compton Street Legend which he published in 2019, Keffe D claimed that his nephew Orlando Anderson fatally shot Tupac – and that he was in the car with him when he opened fire.
“Tupac made an erratic move and began to reach down beneath his seat,” he writes in the book.
“It was the first and only time in my life that I could relate to the police command, ‘Keep your hands where I can see them.’ Instead, Pac pulled out a strap, and that’s when the fireworks started.
“One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.”
In the memoir, Mr Davis says that he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac and had slipped the Glock pistol into the back seat where his nephew sat.
Suspect broke silence to federal investigators in 2010
In his book, Mr Davis wrote that he spoke for the first time with federal and local authorities in 2010 about the killing.
He wrote that he was facing life in prison on drugs charges and agreed to speak to investigators about the Tupac murder and the killing six months later of rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G.
“They offered to let me go for running a ‘criminal enterprise’ and numerous alleged murders for the truth about the Tupac and Biggie murders,” he wrote. “They promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out.”
Smalls, a rap rival of Tupac Shakur, was fatally shot in March 1997 in a Los Angeles drive-by shooting similar to that of Shakur. His murder has never been solved.
Duane Davis has said he is not concerned about Shakur charges
Mr Davis, who Rolling Stone says spent 15 years in prison for his role running a “multi-million-dollar nationwide drug empire” as part of the Southside Compton Crips, says he is not worried about charges over the Tupac Shakur killing.
“They want to put me in jail for life? That’s just something I got to do,” Mr Davis said in a March 2023 interview with DJ Vlad.
Raid of suspect’s home in Henderson, Nevada.
A search warrant was executed by Las Vegas police at Mr Davis’s home in nearby Henderson, Nevada, on 17 July 2023.
The warrant, which was obtained by CNN, stated that investigators searched for “items that tend to show evidence of motive and/or the identity of the perpetrator such as photographs or undeveloped film, insurance policies and letters, address and telephone records, diaries, and other documents…”
An affidavit filed to obtain the warrant stated that police were looking for “notes, writings, ledgers, and other handwritten or typed documents concerning television shows, documentaries, YouTube episodes, book manuscripts, and movies concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur.”
In addition to the electronics, investigators left the Henderson home with USB and hard drives, photographs, “purported marijuana,” a copy of Vibe magazine featuring Tupac, and a copy of the Compton Street Legends book written by Keffe D with Yusuf Jah.