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After nearly 3 decades a suspect is charged in Tupac Shakur's murder


The man charged with the murder of Tupac Shakur in 1996 will be arraigned today in Las Vegas. Duane Davis' alleged involvement with the 25-year-old rap icon's death is well known. He's spoken about it publicly and shared details of the drive-by shooting in his 2019 memoir. Investigators say it was Davis' own public comments that revived their investigation into the murder. Greg Kading is a former LAPD homicide detective who worked on the case and is the author of the book "Murder Rap: The Untold Story Of The Biggie Smalls And Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations." Duane Davis has written about it and talked about it. Why has it taken nearly three decades to charge him?

GREG KADING: He didn't start publicly talking about all of this until the last few years. And, you know, once he began to publicly talk about it, it, I think, resurrected the interest of the Las Vegas Police Department. And they began to monitor what he was saying. And I think they took on the position like, if - just let him continue to talk, let him continue to incriminate himself until they feel they have enough to secure a prosecution and a conviction. So it took some time for them to feel confident enough in his public statements to move forward with an arrest and an indictment and a prosecution.

MARTÍNEZ: I know he was granted some immunity in exchange for cooperating with law enforcement. Why isn't he protected by that?

KADING: Back in 2009, when he confessed to our task force, he was under what was known as a proffer agreement. And that proffer agreement allows him to make incriminating statements with the confidence of knowing that those statements cannot then be turned around and used against him. But that condition only applies to his law enforcement interviews. So when he begins to go out and publicly boast, none of that is protected under that agreement. And that's how he's basically talked himself straight into jail.

MARTÍNEZ: So by publicly boasting, do you think that he was still covered by that previous agreement? Did he think that one had to do with the other?

KADING: It may have been what he thought, but that certainly wasn't the - that's not reality. And there was no reason for him to draw that conclusion. He was never given any type of immunity whatsoever.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Now, it's important to point out that investigators do not say that Davis actually fired the weapon, but that he orchestrated the murder. Greg, if he's found guilty and goes to prison for this, will this close the book on the mystery surrounding Tupac's death?

KADING: Yes. The case will be officially solved, and it'll change the status of Tupac's death. Historically, it'll now be considered a solved case instead of an unsolved mystery.

MARTÍNEZ: You know, for decades, it's felt like the shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls are kind of culturally tied together in a way. But is there any real connection between the two?

KADING: Well, absolutely there is. Biggie Smalls was killed in direct retaliation for the murder of Tupac Shakur. So there most certainly is a connection between the two.

MARTÍNEZ: But no arrests have ever been made in Biggie's murder, right? So that's still open.

KADING: That is correct. Biggie's case is still considered officially unsolved.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Greg Kading is a former LAPD detective and also the author of the book "Murder Rap: The Untold Story Of The Biggie Smalls And Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations." Greg, thank you very much.

KADING: My pleasure.


2PAC: (Rapping) When I was young, me and my mama had beef - 17 years old, kicked out on the streets. Though back at the time I never thought I'd see her face. Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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