Marion Knight, the one-time rap mogul better known as Suge, will be sentence to 28 years in prison after pleading no contest Thursday to reduced charges in connection with a 2015 hit-and-run death tied to the film “Straight Outta Compton,” after a bizarre chain of events that delayed his murder trial.
Mr. Knight, 53, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court after a plea deal was reached just days before jury selection was to begin. He had been charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run as a result of a dispute on the set of a trailer for the popular N.W.A biopic, which included a depiction of Mr. Knight.
The authorities said Mr. Knight killed Terry Carter, 55, a Compton, Calif., businessman, and injured a security consultant, Cle Sloan, when he ran over both at a local burger stand. His lawyers said at the time that he was fleeing and had acted in self-defense.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in an announcement of the plea bargain that Mr. Knight would be sentenced to 11 years in prison for the manslaughter count, which would be doubled under California’s three-strikes law based on his prior convictions. Because this conviction was for a “serious and violent” felony that used a deadly weapon — a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck — he received an additional six years. The official sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
The deal also resolved two other pending criminal cases against Mr. Knight from 2014, including charges of making criminal threats and stealing a camera. Both charges will be dismissed, the district attorney’s office said.
Mr. Knight came to fame as a larger-than-life behind-the-scenes figure in the gangsta rap revolution of the 1990s. As a founder of Death Row Records, he was instrumental in the careers of Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. The company later filed for bankruptcy amid legal issues.
Mr. Knight served nearly five years in jail for violating the terms of his probation after a 1996 fight at a Las Vegas hotel. Hours after the altercation, Mr. Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Mr. Knight’s car. Mr. Knight also has convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun; in 1995, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to five years’ probation for assaulting two rappers at a studio in 1992.
The yearslong lead-up to Mr. Knight’s plea featured no shortage of drama, either: He collapsed in the courtroom during a bail hearing; went through 15 attorneys, including two who were indicted on witness tampering charges in the case; and his fiancée was jailed for violating probation after she was accused of selling surveillance footage of the hit and run to TMZ for $55,000.
Mr. Knight was also indicted in 2017 for threatening F. Gary Gray, the director of “Straight Outta Compton,” over his portrayal in the film and insisted that he should be compensated, prosecutors said.
A lawyer for Mr. Knight did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.