Marion Hugh “Suge” Knight pleaded “no contest” to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Terry Carter in Compton, California. In January 2015, Knight, the former producer and founder of rap label Death Row Records, allegedly hit Carter and Cle “Bone” Sloan with his truck, killing Carter and severely injuring Sloan.
Though Knight claimed this was in self-defense, as someone had just threatened his life with a gun, evidently it didn’t appear that this defense could be proven. After going through 15 defense lawyers and sitting in a Los Angeles County Jail for the last three years awaiting trial because his bail had been revoked, Suge waived his right to a jury trial and accepted a plea deal.
Details of the 28-Year Plea Deal
According to the deal, Knight will spend 28 years in prison. Though the original charge only carried a sentence of 11 years, that sentence was doubled under the Three Strikes provision, since Knight has a few prior convictions. Five years were added for conviction of a serious felony, and one more for using a deadly weapon (the truck).
All in, however, this is still less than he may have faced in the murder and attempted murder trial that was set to start in a few days. Also, as part of the deal, prosecutors dropped two other pending cases against Knight: a 2014 charge for stealing a woman’s camera, and a 2017 charge for threatening F. Gary Gray, director of “Straight Outta Compton”.
Suge Knight No Stranger to Prison
Suge Knight has a long rap sheet, and we’re not talking the music genre. To list just a few examples:
In 1987, he pleaded guilty to using a concealed weapon to shoot a someone who was stealing his car.
In 1996, he was imprisoned for assault charges as well as violating probation, and served five years.
In 2003, he went back to prison for violating parole again.
In 2008, Knight avoided charges after being arrested for drug (Ecstasy and Hydrocodone) and aggravated assault charges, including beating his girlfriend and brandishing a knife. Fortunately for Knight, the police had difficulties obtaining witness statement.
If Suge Knight’s name seems more notorious than just the killing of Terry Carter, it should. One of Knight’s biggest stars, Tupac Shakur, was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in September 1996, just hours after Suge’s 1996 assault. Shakur’s East Coast rival, The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) was murdered while traveling in Los Angeles just six days later, also in a drive-by shooting. The similarity of the two cases created speculation that Knight was involved in this “revenge killing” of Biggie. Some, however, speculate that he was also involved in Tupac’s murder, and potentially even the death of Eazy-E, who died of AIDS.