Onetime rap mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight sentenced to 28 years for manslaughter

Knight, 53, listens to the judge as he is sentenced after pleading no contest to manslaughter.
Knight, 53, listens to the judge as he is sentenced after pleading no contest to manslaughter.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom on Thursday (Oct 4) to 28 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of a man he ran over with his pickup truck outside a hamburger stand in 2015.

The sentence appeared to forestall any chance of a future recording business comeback for Knight, 53, known as much for repeated run-ins with the law as for his career as a hip-hop executive promoting the likes of Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Tupac Shakur during the 1990s.

The co-founder of the influential label Death Row Records pleaded no contest on Sept. 20 to one count of voluntary manslaughter for the hit-and-run killing of 55-year-old Terry Carter.

He admitted then to using a "deadly and dangerous weapon" on Jan 29, 2015, when he ran down two men with his pickup truck outside Tam's Burgers, following a heated argument on the set of a TV commercial for the film Straight Outta Compton.

Carter later died of his injuries. The second man, Cle "Bone" Sloan, was left with a badly mangled left foot and head injuries.

Knight, who was out on bail in a robbery case at the time, fled the scene but was later arrested.

Had Knight been convicted of murder and attempted murder as originally charged, he would have faced a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

As part of his agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest - the legal equivalent of guilty - to the lesser offense of manslaughter, all other charges in the case were dropped. Two separate criminal cases in which he was charged with robbery and making criminal threats were also dismissed. Both rap murders remain unsolved.

Knight previously served more than half of a nine-year term for violating the probation he received in 1995 for an assault on two aspiring rappers at a Hollywood recording studio.

The probation violation stemmed from a scuffle involving Knight at a Las Vegas hotel in September 1996, hours before Shakur was shot to death while riding in a car with Knight on the Las Vegas Strip. Knight was slightly wounded in the attack.

Knight was later named by police as a suspect in the shooting death of rival rap artist Christopher Wallace, known as Notorious BIG, but was never charged.

In 2002, the year after his release from prison, a federal racketeering probe of Knight and his record label was closed with the company pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. The onetime college football star and "gangsta" rap pioneer eventually lost control of his label in bankruptcy proceedings.