Former death row records boss Suge Knight has pleaded no contest in a voluntary manslaughter case, raising fresh questions about his involvement in disappearance of rapper Tupac Shakur.
Marion ‘Suge’ Knight will serve 28 years in jail after pleading no contest in the killing of a man with his truck four years ago.
Knight injured Cle ‘Bone’ Sloan and killed Terry Carter with his Ford pickup outside a drive-thru in Los Angeles in January 2015 after an argument on the set of the film Straight Outta Compton turned violent.
His admission comes two years after a retired LAPD cop admitted that he was paid money by Knight to fake the death of Tupac Shakur.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: According to reports at the time, Knight turned up to the set despite not being welcome due to a long-running feud with Dr Dre, who was there that day.
Knight was told to leave by Sloan, who was a consultant for the film, and the pair got into an argument before Knight left.
Terry Carter, a businessman and record producer, became involved and agreed to help smooth things over, before suggesting the men meet at a nearby burger joint for truce talks.
Carter and Knight were seen exchanging friendly words in the drive-thru parking lot before Sloan arrived and a fist fight broke out with Knight.
While trying to escape, Knight clipped Sloan with his car, knocking him to the ground, before running over Carter, killing him.
Knight, who co-founded Death Row Records with Dr Dre, has always denied intentionally hitting either man.
His plea came before jury selection was due to begin for his expected murder trial.
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.
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.
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.
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