‘Suge’ Knight charged with murder; could face life in prison
Former rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight has been charged with murder and attempted murder after a fatal hit-and-run that followed an argument in Compton last week, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney.
He could face life in state prison if convicted.
The official charges came hours after Knight’s $2.2-million bail was revoked.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told The Times that Knight’s bail was pulled for the following reasons: “Possible flight risk, three-strike candidate, possible witness intimidation issues and his criminal past.”
Knight, 49, is accused of running over Terry Carter and Cle “Bone” Sloan with his truck.
Carter was killed.
The confrontation began about 3 p.m. Thursday when Knight and the victims began arguing on the set of “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the group N.W.A, said Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Department’s detectives unit.
Knight is due to make his first court appearance in Compton on Tuesday.
Knight’s attorney, James E. Blatt, told The Times that his client was being assaulted and, while trying to get away from his attackers, accidentally ran the two men over.
Prosecutors say Knight’s actions were intentional.
Blatt described Carter as a good friend of Knight who was trying to break up the fight.
But Sgt. Richard Biddle of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the Carter family told investigators they disagree with that characterization.
“They say that Suge and their father are not close friends,” Biddle said, adding that he had watched surveillance video from the crime scene.
“It looks like an intentional act,” said Biddle, who is investigating the case.
Biddle said investigators are still trying to track down witnesses.
“There’s a whole bunch of people we still need to interview,” he said, “but no one is coming forward to cooperate.”
Knight co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre in 1991 and built it into the first rap label to consistently dominate the pop scene. But he has a history of legal troubles.
In 1996, Knight was at the wheel of a BMW in Las Vegas when passenger and popular rapper Tupac Shakur was shot by gunmen in another vehicle. Shakur died a week later, and the case has not been solved.
In 1997, Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating the terms of his probation from an earlier assault case. He was released from prison in 2001 but was sent back to jail two years later for violating parole when he hit a parking lot attendant.
In 2006, Knight filed for bankruptcy. He put his Malibu mansion up for sale the following year. In 2008, he was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug possession and aggravated assault. The next year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.
Last August, Knight and two others were shot inside a packed West Hollywood nightclub at a pre-awards party hosted by singer Chris Brown.
Times staff writer Marisa Gerber contributed to this report.
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