On Thursday morning, former rap entrepreneur Marion “Suge” Knight, on trial for a 2015 hit-and-run, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to serve a 28-year sentence in prison.
Knight ran over two men with his truck after fleeing a potentially violent dispute in Compton, Calif. The second man, Terry Carter, died from his injuries. The altercation was reportedly in relation to the filming of the NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton”.
Surveillance footage, marked as key evidence from the fatal incident, had initially pinned Knight with murder and attempted murder charges.
The footage captured Knight backing up his car over the first victim, businessman Cle “Bone” Sloan, then running him over again and crushing Carter. He continued to flee the scene, leaving Bone unconscious and Carter lifeless.
Knight’s lawyers stated he fled fearing for his life, as the two men were armed. Sloan and Knight have a history, and witnesses reported they were fist-fighting before Knight ran away. In his own testimony, Sloan denied he was armed with a gun at the time.
There is no clear motive around the altercation between the three men. On the day of the crime, Knight showed up at a burger stop in Compton where Dr. Dre was reportedly filming a promo for “Straight Outta Compton”.
Knight was accused of sending threatening texts to the director, F. Gary Gray. Sloan was tasked as a bodyguard, which may explain why the fight started in the first place.
Knight has repeatedly dodged court dates since 2015 regarding this matter. He has fired many lawyers throughout the case, causing many delays. His medical status allowed him to avoid a few hearings too. The closest they got, until this guilty plea, was a court session where Knight passed out in court.
Knight is recognized for his legacy as a record producer and is the co-founder of Death Row Records. The west-coast based label ran successfully until the death of beloved prolific rapper Tupac Shakur.
Knight’s reputation suffered after a long history of domestic charges and further incarceration. He has long been accused of being involved with the deaths of both Shakur and east-coast rival Biggie Smalls. Snoop Dogg was among those who pointed a finger.
The lack of activity and production accounted for a huge loss in the company’s earnings. Knight then faced multiple charges of assault. He ran Death Row from behind bars until he filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and lost control of the company.
Knight will be sentenced to 28 years in prison — 22 for manslaughter, with the remaining six for his third-strike violation.
The official sentencing hearing for his murder trial is scheduled for Oct. 4.
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