LOS ANGELES - The world has certainly changed since the 1996 shooting death of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas, but one can't overlook the social impact of the case.
The late rapper has trended on various on social platforms since self-described gangster Duane "Keffe D" Davis, 60, was charged with his murder.
Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, a podcaster and professor at Pepperdine University, believes society has impacted the case both negatively and positively.
"I mean, I think the social impact of this case has sown some sort of seeds of distrust," he told LiveNOW on FOX's Josh Breslow. "And there have been lots of conspiracy theories that have run rampant about who really killed Tupac Shakur."
"And, you know, just having those conspiracy theories out there in the atmosphere have probably made it harder to bring the folks involved with his murder to justice," he continued. "And so you might hope is that this case, this trial will help to clarify, you know, who was involved and who wasn't involved. We want accountability, but we also want that folks who may not have been involved to have their name cleared."
Quartey also thinks believes social media can also play a role in helping to further solve the case.
"On one hand, we've seen examples of, you know, folks taking to social media with insights, you know, that law enforcement is able to use to help more quickly identify, you know, who needs to be brought to justice," he told Live NOW on FOX's Josh Breslow.
But he also said there's a downside to social media.
"We've also seen social media muddy the waters where it's not clear, you know, what information is trustworthy and what information is not, you know," he continued. "I can say that there's a lot of love and a lot of enthusiasm for Tupac Shakur yet and still, I think there are a lot of fans out there that want and need the closure related to his untimely death and murder. And this is the best shot that we've had in nearly 30 years to get that. "
Davis was scheduled to be arraigned on the charge Wednesday, but the hearing was cut short after he asked Clark County District Judge Tierra Jones to postpone the hearing while he retains counsel in Las Vegas.
Mopreme Shakur, the rapper's stepbrother, wasn't in court Wednesday but told The Associated Press that he's been following developments in the case from his home in Los Angeles, even as he and his family are "trying to manage our expectations."
"Young Black men often deal with delayed justice because we're often viewed as the criminals," he said. "So justice has been delayed for quite some time — in spite of all the eyes, all the attention, despite the celebrity of my brother."
Davis was arrested last Friday near his home in suburban Henderson. A few hours later, a grand jury indictment was unsealed in Clark County District Court charging him with murder. Davis denied a request from the AP for an interview from jail where he’s being held without bond.
Grand jurors also voted to add sentencing enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon and alleged gang activity. If Davis is convicted, that could add decades to his sentence. In Nevada, a person can be convicted of murder for helping another person commit the crime.
Prosecutors allege Shakur's killing stemmed from a rivalry and competition for dominance in a musical genre that, at the time, was dubbed "gangsta rap." It pitted East Coast members of a Bloods gang sect associated with rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight against West Coast members of a Crips sect that Davis has said he led in Compton, California.
Tension escalated in Las Vegas the night of Sept. 7, 1996, when a brawl broke out between Shakur and Davis' nephew, Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, at the MGM Grand hotel-casino following a heavyweight championship boxing match won by Mike Tyson.
Knight and Shakur went to the fight, as did members of the South Side Crips, prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo said last week in court. "And (Knight) brought his entourage, which involved Mob Piru gang members."
After the casino brawl, Knight drove a BMW with Shakur in the front passenger seat. The car was stopped at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up on the passenger side and gunfire erupted.
Davis has said he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac and handed a .40-caliber handgun to his nephew in the back seat, from which he said the shots were fired.
Shot multiple times, Shakur died a week later at age 25. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment but survived. Now 58, he is serving a 28-year prison sentence for running over and killing a Compton businessman outside a burger stand in January 2015.
Among the four people in the Cadillac that night, Davis is the only one who is still alive. Anderson died in a May 1998 shooting in Compton. Before his death, Anderson denied involvement in Shakur’s death. The other backseat passenger, DeAndre "Big Dre" or "Freaky" Smith, died in 2004. The driver, Terrence "Bubble Up" Brown, died in a 2015 shooting in Compton.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.