Marion “Suge” Knight, 53, who at one time was called the most ruthless man in rap as the head of Death Row records, has pleaded no contest in his legal drama. Knight has been in jail for more than two years as the trial against him went forward for the 2015 hit-and-run death of Terry Carter, 55, at a Compton, California, restaurant not far from the filming of the NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton. Knight was accused of running over Carter, killing him, and severely injuring another man identified as Cle “Bone” Sloan, with his pickup truck.
The trial was beset with drama that included Knight passing out in court on multiple occasions, having his jailhouse visits restricted, two former lawyers being indicted for witness tampering and his fiancée being charged with trying to sell the video of the truck incident to tabloid magazines.
But now with his no contest plea, Knight will spend a total of 28 years in jail, 22 for voluntary manslaughter and another six for a third-strike conviction as a felon. Knight has maintained that he was acting in self-defense when he ran over the victims and has avoided charges of murder, attempted murder, and hit-and-run with his plea.
Knight, 53, was facing the possibility of life in prison, but if he serves all 28 years, the former media mogul will be released when he is close to 81 years old. It’s an incredible fall for the once-powerful head of Death Row records who saw the rise of gangster rap and the West Coast sound that included Dr. Dre, Tupac and Snoop Dogg among others.