Marion “Suge” Knight is headed to state prison for 28 years after striking a surprise plea deal for the fatal hit-and-run that claimed the life of businessman Terry Carter in 2015.
Knight, 53, had been awaiting trial for more than three years after a series of delays and lawyer changes.
He pleaded “no contest” Thursday in a Los Angeles courtroom to voluntary manslaughter, days before jury selection was set to begin in his murder trial.
Lillian Carter, the widow of victim Terry Carter, told the Los Angeles Times that Knight’s attorney notified the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office about a possible plea agreement on Wednesday.
The Death Row Records co-founder initially pleaded not guilty, and insisted he was defending himself when the collision occurred that claimed Carter’s life. If convicted at trial, Knight was facing a life sentence.
On Jan. 29, 2015, prosecutors said Knight drove his Ford pickup truck into two men in Compton, then fled the scene after an argument on the set of a promo shoot for the film Straight Outta Compton.
Carter, who was a friend of Knight’s from the music industry, was killed. Cle “Bone” Sloan — an activist and actor — was seriously injured.
The deadly crash occurred in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers, which served as a base camp for the production.
According to media reports at the time, Knight was not invited to the promo shoot, but dropped in unannounced after hearing that a “Suge look-alike” had been cast in the film. Some type of argument occurred and Knight drove into Carter and Sloan before fleeing the scene.
The deadly incident immediately made headlines, and Knight turned himself in the next day.
Since then, the case has seen a series of dramatic turns.
Knight suffered a litany of health problems and even collapsed in court. The fallen hip-hop mogul also changed lawyers several times.
The case was by no means Knight’s only brush with the law. Over the years, he was in and out of jail on assault and robbery charges, and parole violations.