Former hip-hop music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was charged Monday with murder and attempted murder after he struck two men with his pickup truck last week.
Prosecutors allege that Knight intended to run down a friend and another man after an argument on a movie set. One of the men was killed.
Attorney James Blatt says Knight accidentally ran over the men on Thursday as he tried to escape a vicious attack. He turned himself in to police on Friday.
Knight’s initial bail of $2 million was revoked Monday after a court commissioner agreed with authorities that he was a potential flight risk and could intimidate witnesses.
The ruling came after homicide detectives told the bail commissioner that the 49-year-old founder of Death Row Records could face a lengthy prison sentence because of a violent criminal past and had the potential to intimidate witnesses, Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
Knight is scheduled to appear in court in Compton on Tuesday to be arraigned on four felony counts, which include murder in the death of 55-year-old Terry Carter, “attempted, willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder” involving victim 51-year-old Cle “Bone” Sloan, plus two charges of hit-and-run.
Knight was out on bail in a separate robbery case when the men were hit.
Knight was at the center of one of the most notorious rap conflicts of the 1990s, pitting Tupac Shakur against Biggie Smalls in an East Coast-West Coast rivalry.
Knight was sent to prison for nearly five years for badly beating a rival with Shakur at a Las Vegas hotel, just hours before Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Knight’s car just east of the Strip.
In the current case, Knight struck two men with his pickup truck in a Compton burger stand parking lot. The collision killed his friend, Carter, a founder and owner of Heavyweight Records who was viewed as a local father figure and tried to help mentor young men in the community, said Doug Young, a friend and hip-hop music promoter. Also injured in the collision was Sloan, an actor and film consultant.
Authorities said Knight visited the set for “Straight Outta Compton,” a film about the rise of the rap group N.W.A., and argued with Sloan who was working at the location on Thursday. Sheriff’s deputies providing security asked Knight to leave.
A short time afterward, the argument resumed in a parking lot a few miles away where Knight and Sloan exchanged punches through a window of the pickup truck before the two men were run down, authorities said.
Blatt has said Knight was attacked by four people, including Sloan, as he pulled into the parking lot after Carter requested he show up for a meeting. Blatt said Knight hit the gas and fled in fear.
Because a conviction in the case could result in Knight’s third serious felony under California’s three strikes sentencing law, Knight could face up to life in prison if he’s convicted.
Thursday’s incident came less than six months after Knight was shot six times at a West Hollywood nightclub in August – the second shooting he has survived. No arrests have been made in that case.
At 6-foot-4 and weighing 325 pounds, Knight is an imposing figure who is credited, in part, with helping create Death Row Records when he strong-armed another label to release Dr. Dre from his contract, said Chuck Creekmur, CEO of allhiphop.com.
Knight and Dre later had a falling out, and Dre left the record company that eventually declared bankruptcy and was auctioned off.
In November, Knight pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge filed after a celebrity photographer accused him of stealing her camera in Beverly Hills. Because of prior convictions, he could face up to 30 years in prison in that case.