Rap mogul Marion 'Suge' Knight pleads no contest to manslaughter

Knight is seen in a 2015 file photo attending a hearing with attorney Thomas Mesereau. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight pleaded no contest in Los Angeles on Thursday (Sept 20) to a single count of manslaughter stemming from a fatal 2015 hit-and-run, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to serve 28 years in prison.

Knight, co-founder of influential hip-hop label Death Row Records, entered the plea ahead of his scheduled trial on murder charges stemming from accusations that he ran down two men with his pickup truck near a burger stand in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton on Jan 29, 2015.

Under California law, a no contest plea is the legal equivalent to a guilty plea.

The 53-year-old former rap producer appeared in court to enter the no contest plea wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer a series of questions from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen.

Knight is scheduled to be sentenced Oct 4, and will be given a 28-year sentence under the terms of his plea deal with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

As part of the agreement the murder charges against Knight will be dismissed by prosecutors, along with separate criminal cases charging him with robbery and making criminal threats.

Had Knight been found guilty of murder as originally charged, he would have faced life in prison, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have said Knight ran down two men in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers, an incident captured on videotape by the restaurant's surveillance cameras.

Terry Carter, 55, was struck and killed by the truck. Cle "Bone" Sloan survived his injuries.

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