Former rap mogul Suge Knight pleads not guilty to murder
COMPTON, Calif. (AP) -- Death Row Records founder Suge Knight pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder, attempted murder and other charges filed after he struck two men with his truck last week.
The former rap music mogul is accused of intentionally running down two men, including a friend, in Compton on Thursday after an argument on a movie set.
Knight remains in custody and appeared in court wearing orange jail attire.
However, his attorney James Blatt has said the collision was an accident that occurred as Knight was trying to flee an altercation in which he was assaulted.
The 49-year-old Knight could face life in prison if convicted.
On Monday, prosecutors charged Knight with killing 55-year-old Terry Carter and attempting to kill 51-year-old Cle "Bone" Sloan. Knight also faces two charges of hit-and-run.
In addition, Knight's $2 million bail was revoked after a court commissioner agreed with authorities that he was a potential flight risk and could intimidate witnesses.
The ruling came after homicide detectives told the bail commissioner that Knight could face a lengthy prison sentence because of a violent criminal past, said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.
Knight was out on bail in a separate robbery case when the men were hit.
Knight was at the center of one of the most notorious rap conflicts of the 1990s, pitting Tupac Shakur against Biggie Smalls in an East Coast-West Coast rivalry.
Knight was sent to prison for nearly five years for badly beating a rival with Shakur at a Las Vegas hotel, just hours before Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Knight's car just east of the Strip in 1996.
In the current case, Knight struck two men with his pickup in a Compton burger stand parking lot. The collision killed his friend Carter, a founder and owner of Heavyweight Records who was viewed as a local father figure and tried to help mentor young men in the community, said Doug Young, a friend and hip-hop music promoter. Also injured in the collision was Sloan, an actor and film consultant.
Authorities said Knight visited the set for "Straight Outta Compton," a film about the rise of the rap group N.W.A., and argued with Sloan, who was working at the location on Thursday. Sheriff's deputies providing security asked Knight to leave.
A short time afterward, the argument resumed in a parking lot a few miles away where Knight and Sloan exchanged punches through a window of the pickup before the two men were run down, authorities said.
Blatt has said Knight was attacked by four people, including Sloan, as he pulled into the parking lot after Carter requested he show up for a meeting. Blatt said Knight hit the gas and fled in fear.
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