Los Angeles judge orders rap mogul 'Suge' Knight to stand trial for murder

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A judge in Los Angeles on Thursday ordered rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight to stand trial for murder in the hit-and-run death of a man outside a hamburger stand in January.

Knight, 49, has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and attempted murder over the incident, which followed an argument on the set of a commercial for the film Straight Outta Compton.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen made his ruling after a preliminary hearing to consider evidence in the case in which Knight is accused of deliberately running over the victim and another man with his pickup truck.

If found guilty, the co-founder of Death Row Records would face a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

“It appeared to me it was not an attempt to escape. It was an attempt at murder,” Coen said, scheduling the next hearing for April 30.

He also reduced Knight’s bail to US$10 million (S$13.5 million) from US$25 million, which he said had been excessive.

Prosecutors say Knight traded punches with one of the two men through the window of his vehicle before putting the truck into reverse, knocking both of them to the ground. Prosecutors say he then pulled forward to run over both men.

One of them, 55-year-old Terry Carter, later died. The other, 51-year-old Cle “Boan” Sloan, suffered a badly mangled left foot and head injuries. Knight’s attorneys say it was an accident as their client fled what he believed to have been an ambush attempt.