A former gang leader was charged Friday with the 1996 murder of artist Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas, according to a prosecutor.
The latest step in a long-running case that has captured the public imagination following the death of an artist whose dazzling career was cut short at the age of 25.
A grand jury in Nevada indicted Duane “Keffe D” Davis, prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo told a judge.
“The presumption is great that he is responsible for the murder of Tupac Shakur, and he will be found guilty of murder with the use of a deadly weapon,” he said.
Shakur, the best-selling hip-hop musician responsible for singles like “California Love,” was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.
Shakur had a brief but meteoric career, quickly going from backup dancer to self-proclaimed gangsta rapper and one of hip-hop’s most prominent artists, selling 75 million records.
He became a pivotal figure in a much-publicized feud between East and West Coast hip-hop, fueled by promoters.
Though born in New York, Shakur relocated to California as a youngster with his family, becoming one of the most recognizable figures in the West Coast scene.
The circumstances behind Shakur’s death in September 1996 remain unknown, and hypotheses abound.
Shakur’s assassination was six months later followed by the assassination of his adversary, East Coast rapper Christopher “The Notorious BIG” Wallace.
Many believe they were murdered as part of a feud between their music labels, Death Row Records in Los Angeles and Bad Boy Entertainment in New York.
However, some music historians believe the coastal rift was exaggerated for economic purposes.
Shakur, whose mother Afeni was a member of the Black Panther Party and named him Tupac Amaru, a revolutionary Inca chief, utilized his lyrics to draw attention to issues affecting Black Americans, ranging from police brutality to mass incarceration.