Defendant in Tupac Shakur killing case is represented by well-known Las Vegas lawyer

Oct 18, 2023, 5:48 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm

Duane "Keffe D" Davis is led into the courtroom at the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday, Oct. 4...

Duane "Keffe D" Davis is led into the courtroom at the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, in Las Vegas. Davis has been charged in the 1996 fatal drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, Pool)

(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, Pool)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Southern California street gang leader charged in the fatal shooting of Tupac Shakur in 1996 in Las Vegas will make a court appearance Thursday with a lawyer from one of the city’s best-known political families, one that has represented mobsters, athletes and other famous clients.

Attorney Ross Goodman told The Associated Press Wednesday he’ll appear in Duane “Keffe D” Davis’ defense against accusations that Davis orchestrated the drive-by killing of the rap music icon. Davis won’t immediately enter a plea, Goodman said, he’ll seek another two weeks to confirm that he’ll be hired for Davis’ case.

Davis, 60, originally from Compton, California, was arrested Sept. 29 outside his home in suburban Henderson. He told a police officer wearing a body camera that he moved there in January because his wife was involved in opening grocery stores in Nevada.

Edi Faal, Davis’ longtime personal lawyer in Los Angeles, told AP after Davis’ first court appearance on Oct. 4 that he was helping Davis find a defense attorney in Nevada. Faal on Wednesday confirmed Goodman’s involvement.

Goodman is a son of former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and current Mayor Carolyn Goodman. As a lawyer for more than two decades, he has handled a range of high-profile cases including a plea deal in August with which former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette resolved a felony gun charge by pleading guilty to two misdemeanors.

His father, Oscar Goodman, is a lawyer who represented mob figures including the ill-fated Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro before serving three terms as mayor. He was famous for making public appearances with a martini in hand and a showgirl on each arm.

Spilotro was the basis for a character in the 1995 film “Casino.” He fought allegations of skimming from resort receipts and led a legendary break-in ring dubbed the “Hole in the Wall Gang” before disappearing in June 1986 with his brother, Michael Spilotro. Their bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield. A reputed Chicago mob boss was convicted in 2007 of both murders.

Ross Goodman also represented Chris Lammons, a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, when he and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanors to resolve a felony battery case stemming from a man’s beating at a Las Vegas nightclub the weekend before the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl.

In July, a police raid at Davis’ home drew renewed interest to Shakur’s unsolved murder, one of hip-hop music’s enduring mysteries. Davis’ indictment made him the first person ever arrested in Shakur’s death and has raised questions about the unsolved killing in March 1997 in Los Angeles of Notorious B.I.G. or “Biggie Smalls,” a rival rapper whose legal name is Christopher Wallace.

Davis denied involvement in that killing, but in recent years has publicly described his role in Shakur’s death, including in interviews and a 2019 tell-all memoir that described his life as a leader of a Crips gang sect in Compton. Davis is the only living person among four men who were in the car from which shots were fired at Shakur and rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Shakur died a week later at age 25. Knight was wounded but survived. Now 58, he is serving a 28-year prison sentence for the death of a Compton businessman in January 2015.

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Defendant in Tupac Shakur killing case is represented by well-known Las Vegas lawyer