February 2, 2015 / 9:17 PM / 3 years ago

Rap mogul Suge Knight charged with murder in hit-and-run case

Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, the head of Death Row Records, is shown at the premiere of "Half Past Dead" in Los Angeles in this November 7, 2002 file photograph.Jim Ruymen/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder on Monday in connection with an incident in which prosecutors say he ran over two men in a Southern California parking lot last week, killing one of them.

Knight, the 49-year-old co-founder of the hip hop label Death Row Records, was charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder, and two counts of felony hit-and-run, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.

Knight, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty at trial, was expected to make an initial court appearance on the charges on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Earlier on Monday, a Los Angeles County bail commissioner revoked Knight's bond at the request of sheriff's investigators, who argued that he was a possible flight risk and candidate for California's three-strike rule.

Knight, who has served time in prison for violating terms of past sentences, was also considered at risk of intimidating witnesses, according to the sheriff's department.

The murder charge against Knight stems from an incident that began when Knight and two other people began arguing in the parking lot of a burger shop in Compton, south of downtown Los Angeles, authorities say.

According to the sheriff's department, Knight and another man began throwing punches at each other through the window of the rap producer's Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck before Knight put the vehicle in reverse, knocking one of the victims to the ground.

Knight then pulled forward, running over the first victim and striking the second, before leaving the scene, authorities say. One of the two victims, identified as 55-year-old Terry Carter, died later at a hospital.

Knight's attorney, James Blatt, could not be reached for comment on Monday. Blatt has said Knight was attacked in the parking lot and did nothing wrong.

California's three-strikes law gives stiffer sentences to people who have already been convicted of serious felonies.

Knight's hip hop empire, which was instrumental in popularizing rap and included successful artists such as Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, began to decline after his stints in jail, the shooting death of Shakur and Dr. Dre's departure from the label.

Knight pleaded not guilty in November to a charge stemming from accusations he stole a camera from a celebrity photographer.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh

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