COMPTON, Calif. (Reuters) - Rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was hospitalized shortly after he pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in Compton, California, to charges including murder in a fatal hit-and-run incident last week.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Sergeant Pauline Panis said Knight was taken to the hospital for a medical condition but declined to elaborate.
The 49-year-old co-founder of influential hip-hop label Death Row Records, was in handcuffs and an orange jail jumpsuit when he stood in a partitioned box at the side of the courtroom for his hearing in Compton, south of downtown Los Angeles.
On Tuesday morning, when the judge asked if he pleaded not guilty, Knight replied, “Yes, your honor.” He was taken to a hospital after the court appearance.
He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of felony hit-and-run, prosecutors said.
He is accused of running over two men on Thursday in a pickup truck, killing one, in an incident that began with an argument in the parking lot of a Compton fast-food restaurant.
Knight and another man began throwing punches at each other through the window of the rap tycoon’s Ford F-150 Raptor pickup before he put the vehicle in reverse, knocking the man to the ground, the sheriff’s department has said.
Knight then pulled forward, running over one man and striking the second before leaving the scene, according to the sheriff’s department. One of the men, identified as 55-year-old Terry Carter, later died.
“From what I understand, he was being attacked and was trying to get away from the attack,” Knight’s attorney, David Kenner, said outside of court.
He said Knight and Carter were friends.
“He’s feeling bad someone he knew is deceased,” Kenner said.
An attorney for Cle “Boan” Sloan, the other man injured in the fracas, said his client and his family are considering filing a civil suit.
The attorney, Michael Shapiro, said Sloan suffered a badly mangled left foot and head injuries.
“A 165-pound guy and a car isn’t much of a fair fight,” he said.
Knight, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty, was taken into custody on suspicion of murder on Friday after surrendering to Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Scott Malone