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Marion 'Suge' Knight's murder trial set for September

Marion 'Suge' Knight's murder trial set for September
Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, pictured at an earlier hearing, is accused of intentionally ramming his pickup truck into two men in January 2015, killing one. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A judge Monday set a September trial date in the murder case of former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, whose dramatic court saga stretches back more than three years.

The Death Row Records co-founder is accused of intentionally ramming his red Ford F-150 pickup into two men in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers at Central and East Rosecrans avenues following an argument on the set of the movie "Straight Outta Compton" in January 2015.

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Footage from the burger joint's security camera shows Knight's truck barreling into Terry Carter, 55, who died, and Cle "Bone" Sloan, who survived. The former rap impresario — who fled the scene but eventually turned himself in — has pleaded not guilty, arguing that he acted in self-defense.

The 53-year-old is also accused in separate cases of robbery and threatening "Straight Outta Compton" director F. Gary Gray.

The murder trial had been set for January and then April, with the proceedings repeatedly postponed as Knight cycled through attorneys. Two former members of his defense team — Thaddeus Culpepper and Matthew Fletcher — were indicted in January on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit subornation of perjury, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and serving as accessories after the fact in connection to the 2015 murder case.

As the Death Row Records co-founder walked into court Monday, he was chained at the waist and clutched a water bottle and brown folder teeming with documents. When the judge asked Knight if he approved of a Sept. 24 trial, the defendant nodded.

A few minutes later, during a separate hearing in the criminal threats proceeding, another judge asked Knight to return to his courtroom in May. The judge then turned to Knight, asking who he thought would win the NBA playoffs.

"At this time..." Knight said, before the judge cut him off, saying he wanted a once-and-for-all answer.

"Houston," Knight responded.

"Alright, Houston. Good pick," the judge said.

Knight smiled.

Times staff writer James Queally contributed to this report.

For more news from the Los Angeles County courts, follow me on Twitter: @marisagerber

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