Marion ‘Suge’ Knight Receives a 28 Year Prison Sentence for Voluntary Manslaughter

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photo: Nick Leisure (CC 2.0)

Marion ‘Suge’ Knight, once a high-profile rap mogul, has been sentenced to 28 years in state prison on charges of voluntary manslaughter.

In 2015, Knight killed one man and injured another with his vehicle outside a burger stand in Compton.

Sitting in his orange jumpsuit, Knight appeared to show no emotion as relatives of the deceased addressed the court.  The 55-year-old victim, Terry Carter, was a father, grandfather, and friend, according to grieving survivors.

Knight struck a plea deal with prosecutors on September 20th, just days before the trial for attempted murder was set to start. Knight is the founder of Death Row Records, and once considered the most feared man in hip hop.

Knight’s career peaked in the mid-90s with platinum-selling records from rappers like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur.

Knight ruled his Death Row empire with violence, but suffered numerous counterattacks.  Tupac Shakur was a passenger in Suge Knight’s BMW when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996.  Knight ultimately lost control of Death Row Records, and the label was eventually forced into bankruptcy.

More recently, he served as a consultant for the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Knight cannot apply for probation and must serve at least 23 years of his 28-year prison sentence.

Knight was caught on video backing his vehicle into one man, before pulling forward to strike Carter and run over him.

Carter later died of the injuries he received.  Defense attorneys for Suge Knight argued that he acted in self-defense because Knight believed the men were armed.

Voluntary manslaughter usually only carries a sentence of 11 years in prison, but Knight’s prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault activated California’s three strikes rule. Under the law, Knight’s sentence is doubled and adds an extra six years.

Knight’s plea agreement clears him of two previous cases in which he as accused of stealing a camera and sending a threatening text message.