Marion Knight, the one-time rap mogul better known as Suge, will be sentenced to 28 years in prison after pleading no to content voluntary manslaughter on Thursday .
In January 2015, the former Death Row Records CEO was arrested and charged with murder after he was involved in a hit-and-run at a Los Angeles restaurant parking lot. Knight allegedly got into a confrontation with two men while on the set of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.
Mr. Knight, 53, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court after a plea deal was reached just days before jury selection was to begin. He had been charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run as a result of a dispute on the set of a trailer
According to prosecutors, Knight proceeded to follow the men to a nearby burger restaurant, where he ran over them with his car. One of the men struck, Terry Carter, died from his injuries. The other, Cle Sloan,, suffered injuries to his head and foot. Knight fled the scene of the incident before authorities arrived.
He also has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun, to which he pleaded no contest in 1995, and was sentenced to five years’ probation for assaulting two rappers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.
Knight, who turned 53 in April, had been facing the possibility of life in prison. His no contest plea came days before his trial was scheduled to begin on Monday (September 24). Knight will get credit for the three-and-a-half years he already served while awaiting the trial.
Aside from the murder charge, Knight was also facing a second-degree robbery charge for an incident in 2014 in which he and comedian Katt Williams are accused to have stolen a paparazzi’s camera. In 2017, he was indicted on charges of “threatening death or bodily injury” against Staight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray, to which Knight pleaded not guilty.
Knight was previously sentenced to nine years in prison in 1997 after violating his probation stemming from an earlier assault charge. After being granted early release in 2001, he was sent back to prison in 2003 after assaulting a parking attendant.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in an announcement of the plea bargain that Mr. Knight would be sentenced to 11 years in prison for the manslaughter count, which would be doubled under California’s three-strikes law based on his prior convictions. Because this conviction was for a “serious and violent” felony that used a deadly weapon — a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck — he received an additional six years. The official sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
The yearslong lead-up to Mr. Knight’s plea featured no shortage of drama, either: He collapsed in the courtroom during a bail hearing; went through 15 attorneys, including two who were indicted on witness tampering charges in the case; and his fiancée was jailed for violating probation after she was accused of selling surveillance footage of the hit and run to TMZ for $55,000.