Suge Knight to serve 28 years in prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter

Convicted killer Suge Knight looks unimpressed as he's ordered to serve 28 YEARS in prison after pleading no contest running over and killing a man four years ago

  • Suge Knight has been sentenced to 28 years jail for 2015 fatal hit and run 
  • Knight allegedly hit a Compton businessman with his truck and fled the scene
  • The former rap mogul reached a plea deal just a day before jury selection began 
  • He pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, a downgrade from his murder charge
  • Knight had previously faced life in jail, and will be sentenced formally October 4 

By Associated Press

Published: 17:15 EDT, 20 September 2018 | Updated: 19:16 EDT, 20 September 2018

Former rap mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight pleaded no contest on Thursday to voluntary manslaughter for running over and killing a Compton businessman nearly four years ago.

The Death Row Records co-founder pleaded in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison following the incident in January 2015.

The plea came just days before jury selection was scheduled to begin in the long-delayed case, and is a step down from his initial charges of murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run.

Knight and Cle 'Bone' Sloan, a consultant on the N.W.A. biopic 'Straight Outta Compton' were involved in a fistfight that ended with Knight clipping the man with his pickup truck and running over businessman Terry Carter, who died from his injuries.

Suge Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago (pictured in court on Thursday)
Suge Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago (pictured in court on Thursday)

Suge Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago (pictured in court on Thursday)

Knight's attorneys have said he was acting in self-defense and was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over Carter and Sloan. Sloan has denied he was carrying a gun during the confrontation.

During Thursday's hearing, Knight loudly and quickly announced his plea of 'no contest when questioned by Judge Ronald Coen. He will be formally sentenced on October 4.

The plea deal calls for Knight to serve 22 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter count, and another six years because it is a third strike violation.

Carter's daughter, Crystal, sat in the front row of the courtroom and displayed no visible reaction to the proceedings. 

'I'm surprised he pleaded out,' she said outside court. 'Normally he likes the cameras to be on him 24-7.'

Delays, detours and drama marked the run-up to Knight's trial, which was expected to begin Oct. 1 under tight security and secrecy. 

Court officials had said no witness list would be released ahead of the trial, and some witnesses might not be identified by name during the case.

Knight collapsed during one court hearing, two of his former attorneys were indicted on witness-tampering charges, and his fiancee pleaded no contest to selling video of Knight hitting the two men with his truck.

Last year, a judge allowed the jailed rap mogul an opportunity to see his ailing mother (pictured with her husband), but he was declined day release to attend her funeral in June
Last year, a judge allowed the jailed rap mogul an opportunity to see his ailing mother (pictured with her husband), but he was declined day release to attend her funeral in June
Suge (pictured in 2011) had also been blocked from seeing family and receiving mail or phone calls while awaiting trial
Suge (pictured in 2011) had also been blocked from seeing family and receiving mail or phone calls while awaiting trial

Last year, a judge allowed the jailed rap mogul an opportunity to see his ailing mother (left, with his father). At the time, Suge (right, in 2011), who was charged with murder, had been blocked from seeing family and receiving mail or phone calls while awaiting trial. He was declined day release to attend her funeral in June

His attorney Albert DeBlanc Jr., appointed by the court five months ago, was his 16th, and Knight tried to fire him and get yet another lawyer just a day before the deal was reached. DeBlanc declined comment Thursday.

While awaiting trial, Knight was also accused of threatening 'Straight Outta Compton' director F. Gary Gray.

Knight would frequently, against the advice of Coen and his attorneys, speak extensively during hearings, complaining about jail conditions, his attorneys and his health issues.

While Coen read legal language about the plea and told Knight he was subject to deportation if he was not a citizen, Knight said: 'ICE is coming to get me?' to a smattering of laughs - including from the judge.

Knight had tried to fire his attorney, Albert DeBlanc Jr, just one day before the plea deal was reached 
Knight had tried to fire his attorney, Albert DeBlanc Jr, just one day before the plea deal was reached 

Knight had tried to fire his attorney, Albert DeBlanc Jr, just one day before the plea deal was reached 

The 53-year-old was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists. 

Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy. He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. 

He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He was sentenced in February 1997 to prison for violating terms of that probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by attack as he rode in Knight's car just east of the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur's slaying remains unsolved.

Knight had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Carter.

Knight had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Carter, but will now serve less than 30 years
Knight had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Carter, but will now serve less than 30 years

Knight had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Carter, but will now serve less than 30 years

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