LOS ANGELES, CA — A judge sentenced Death Row Records cofounder Marion “Suge” Knight to 28 years in prison on October 4 for fatally running over a man and maiming another before fleeing the scene — in an incident caught on camera.
In 2015, Knight was working on Straight Outta Compton, a film about the rap group NWA, when he drove a red pickup truck into the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers, which was located not far from the set in Compton. A surveillance video showed Cle “Bone” Sloan, a consultant on the biopic, approach Knight. The former hip-hop legend remained in his vehicle, and the two exchanged words, reportedly over issues Knight, 53, had with the production.
Suddenly, Knight threw the truck into reverse, knocking Sloan, 49, to the ground. He then shot forward, running over Sloan before striking 55-year-old businessman Terry Carter, who later died of his injuries. Knight claimed he was acting in self-defense.
“He never got out of the car to see if my uncle was okay,” Carter’s niece told the court at Knight’s sentencing. “This has to be in my family forever. Nothing will be the same. Not even an apology, condolences have been made to my family.”
Lillian Carter wrote a letter to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen and described the frustration she felt knowing her late spouse’s legacy as a leader in the community and other accomplishments have all but been erased.
“What you do see is the defendant killing my husband,” she wrote of putting Carter’s name into online search engines, and finding the incriminating video. “He was so much more than the guy who the defendant killed with his truck. He was my husband, my best friend, my provider.”
“I will never witness Terry smiling at me again,” Carter’s widow added. “All interactions with Terry ended on Jan. 29, 2015. All we have is memories.”
Knight, in jail since the incident, faced charges of murder, attempted murder, and hit-and-run. However, on September 20, he accepted a last-minute plea deal of no contest to voluntary manslaughter in Carter’s death, a decision that helped him avoid a lengthy murder trial and a potential life sentence.
The disgraced former rap mogul, who’s also infamous for being in the car with Tupac Shakur when the iconic rapper was gunned down in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting in 1996, is credited with producing the albums of hip-hop’s most famous figures, including Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre.
Main photo: Marion “Suge” Knight mug shot [Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department]