Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who pleaded no contest last month to voluntary manslaughter for running over a man with a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Compton hamburger stand, was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in state prison.
Knight, 53, entered the plea Sept. 20 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, days before his long-awaited trial was set to begin in connection with the Jan. 29, 2015, killing of Terry Carter, 55, following an argument near a promotional shoot for the movie “Straight Outta Compton.”
Knight also admitted an allegation that he used a deadly weapon — a truck — during the commission of the crime in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue.
Knight also struck and seriously injured Cle “Bone” Sloan.
At an emotional sentencing hearing before Judge Ronald S. Coen, Carter’s relatives said they were forced to relive the last moments of their loved one’s life following the sale of dramatic surveillance video to TMZ. Carter’s widow, Lillian, wrote in a letter to the court that it left her “beyond words” to “watch it and have it plastered all over the media.”
In her letter read in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom by the victim’s sister, his widow wrote that the two — who had been married for 29 years — “expected to grow old with one another.”
“It’s been three years and it’s not any easier. … This is a nightmare, one that I cannot wake up from,” she said, noting that she wanted the world to know that her husband was an “exceptional man” who was “so much more than the guy the defendant killed with his truck.”
Outside court, Carter’s widow said, “I really don’t want him (Knight) to ever leave jail.”
One of the victim’s daughters, Crystal, told the judge that Knight was “unrepentant” and said he had tried to “defame my dad’s character.”
“Although the defendant made statements that he’s the victim … he is not the victim,” she told the judge. “He murdered my dad in cold blood and is a menace to society.”
Nekaya Carter said she’s had to live for three years and eight months without her father.
“My dad can finally rest in peace while you live out the rest of your life in prison,” she said, speaking directly to Knight.
Jessica Carter, the victim’s younger sister, said the family is missing its “CEO” and has “never heard any apologies or remorse from the defendant.”
Knight did not speak during the sentencing, other than to waive his presence at a Dec. 10 hearing to determine how much restitution he will have to pay.
“… My heart goes out to you,” the judge told the victim’s family as the hearing drew to a close.
The fatal confrontation, which was captured on surveillance video, occurred near a filming set for a promotional video for “Straight Outta Compton,” the origin story of the rap group N.W.A.
Knight had claimed he was trying to flee the scene in his truck, contending that Sloan — who was working security for the film set — was armed with a gun.
He could have faced a potential life prison term if convicted of murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run. Those charges were dismissed, along with a pair of other pending cases in which he was charged with robbery involving the alleged theft of a camera from a female paparazzo whom Knight accused of taking photos of his son in September 2014, and alleged criminal threats against F. Gary Gray, the director of “Straight Outta Compton,” in August 2014.
Knight, a Compton native and former football player, co-founded Death Row Records, which in its heyday in the early 1990s was generating revenues of about $100 million per year.
He helped launch some of rap’s biggest acts, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. He was with Shakur the night he was gunned down in 1996.
Knight served five years in prison for assault and federal weapons violations and, after his release in 2001, spent another 10 months behind bars for violating parole by hitting a Hollywood nightclub valet.
In August 2014, he was shot a half-dozen times at a Los Angeles-area nightclub.