Los Angeles County prosecutors will ask a judge Friday to set bail at $25 million for former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who is accused of running down two men in Compton, killing one of them.
Knight, 49, is jailed without bail. Defense attorneys are expected to ask for a change in his bail during a hearing in downtown Los Angeles this morning. In a motion filed Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes said prosecutors had not received any court papers from Knight’s attorneys regarding what type of bail they may request.
In the extensive motion, however, Barnes lambasted Knight as a “prolific and unrepentant criminal.” She detailed his criminal history, which dates back to 1987 and is peppered with probation and parole violations.
“Defendant Knight’s extensive history of violence, both in this case and over the last 30 years, clearly demonstrates that he is physically incapable of stopping his violent criminal behavior,” Barnes wrote.
Knight is accused of striking the two men — 55-year-old Terry Carter and 51-year-old Cle “Bone” Sloan — at 2:55 p.m. Jan. 29 in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue near Central Avenue. Carter died, but Sloan survived.
Knight’s attorneys have insisted that he acted in self-defense. Attorney Matthew Fletcher said after a hearing earlier this month that the victims lured Knight to the Compton parking lot and attacked him. He said video of the surveillance video posted on TMZ proves “this was a set-up.”
Barnes noted in her motion that Knight was free on bail in a robbery case when he allegedly ran down the two men. He and comedian Micah “Katt” Williams are accused of stealing a camera from a paparazzo in Beverly Hills on Sept. 5.
“In a showing of utter contempt for the judicial system and human life, while on $500,000 bail, defendant Knight committed the murder of Terry Carter and attempted murder of Cle Sloan,” according to the motion. “Not only did he disregard the constraints of bail, he escalated his criminal behavior to murder and attempted murder.”
The motion also alleges that in addition to his documented criminal history, Knight has been implicated in a money-laundering scheme that lasted more than a decade and in an “ongoing extortion scheme.”
“Apparently when a new artist or rapper comes to either Los Angeles or Las Vegas, he is required to pay a ‘tax’ to” Knight, Barnes contended.
Barnes wrote that Knight’s “shameless life of crime” began when he was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in 1987 in Las Vegas.
“In 1988 Knight was first arrested in Los Angeles County for narcotics sales,” she wrote. “In the early 1990s, Knight was arrested and convicted of various misdemeanor charges, including assault, battery, providing false information to a peace officer and disturbing the peace. In 1994, Knight was convicted of a federal firearms charge and placed on federal probation.
“In February of 1995, Knight plead guilty to two counts of assault with a firearm with the allegation that he personally used a firearm …,” according to the motion. “Both charges are violent felonies, and therefore qualify as prior convictions under the ‘Three Strikes’ law. Not surprisingly, shortly after the plea agreement, Defendant Knight violated his probation.
“Defendant Knight, Tupac Shakur and several other men ‘jumped’ victim Orlando Anderson in a Las Vegas casino. Defendant was clearly seen kicking the victim numerous times in the head. The incident was (recorded) by the hotel surveillance cameras. After finding the defendant in violation of the terms of his probation, the court sentenced him to serve nine years in state prison.”
Barnes wrote that once Knight was released from prison in 2002, he repeatedly violated parole and was sent back behind bars at least three times.
“Since his release from prison custody, Defendant Knight has continued his repugnant life of crime,” according to the motion.
Knight, a Compton native and former football player, co-founded Death Row Records, which in its heyday in the early 1990s generated revenues of up to $100 million per year.
He helped launch some of rap’s biggest acts, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, and was with Shakur the night he was slain in 1996. His Death Row Records pushed West Coast Rap to prominence at a time when the genre was dominated by East Coast rappers.
—City News Service