Marion “Suge” Knight pleaded no contest Thursday to voluntary manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of Terry Carter in Compton in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The 53-year-old Knight, who became famous helming the gangster rap institution Death Row Records, agreed to serve 28 years in prison as part of a plea deal — 22 years for voluntary manslaughter, and an additional six years because it is a third strike violation. The formal sentencing will take place on October 4th.
Knight was facing multiple charges — murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run — stemming from an incident that took place in January 2015 outside Tam’s Burgers in Compton. Knight first got into a scuffle with Cle “Bone” Sloan, who was serving as a consultant on the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. Knight was reportedly upset that he was not being paid for the use of his likeness. After coming to blows with Sloan, Knight climbed into his pickup truck and started to drive. He hit Sloan and ran over another man, Carter. Sloan survived, but Carter later died from his injuries.
Knight fled the scene in his truck, but the whole incident was captured by a security camera outside of Tam’s Burgers. Knight later turned himself in and has been behind bars ever since. He initially pleaded not guilty, saying that he acted in self-defense, according to The Los Angeles Times. Knight’s legal team argued that he was being threatened by armed men in the parking lot. They later stated that a hit man hired by Dr. Dre to kill Knight was at Tam’s the day of the fight.
During the three years since the incident occurred, Knight has fired a series of lawyers. As recently as Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reports that Knight asked Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen to dismiss his court-appointed defense attorney. But Knight’s trial date was rapidly approaching — it was set to take place on September 24 — and if convicted of murder, he faced life in prison without parole. Knight’s attorney, Al DeBlanc, reportedly reached out to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office about a plea deal on Wednesday.
In addition to facing charges from the fight outside of Tam’s Burgers, Knight was also accused of threatening Straight Outta Compton‘s director, F. Gary Gray, in 2014 because he was angry about his portrayal in the film. Knight was accused of stealing a camera from a photographer in 2014 as well. As part of the plea deal, those cases will both be dismissed by the judge at the sentencing, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“I’m surprised [Knight] pleaded out,” Carter’s daughter, Crystal Carter, said outside of the courthouse on Thursday, according to ABC. “Normally he likes the cameras to be on him 24-7.”
By Elias Leight