LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A videotape posted on celebrity news website TMZ on Monday shows Marion “Suge” Knight running over two men with his pick-up truck at a Los Angeles area burger stand, killing one of them, in an incident that led to hit-and-run charges against the rap mogul.
The graphic video appears to support prosecutors’ contention that Knight deliberately struck Cle “Bone” Sloan and Terry Carter with his red Ford F-150 on Jan. 29 following an altercation in the driveway of Tam’s Burgers in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.
Sloan, 51, survived his injuries but Carter, 55, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Matthew Fletcher, who formally took over as Knight’s attorney during a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, told reporters that the video would help exonerate his client because it showed him fleeing an ambush at the fast-food restaurant.
“When you’re attacked ... you have every right to defend yourself,” he said. “There’s no duty to retreat, there’s no duty to hide or cower. You have the right to leave.”
Fletcher said the video also shows a third man removing a gun from Sloan as he lay on the ground injured, helping prove the defense argument that Knight, 49, had been lured to Tam’s burgers for an attack.
The videotape, which appears to have been shot by a security camera at the fast-food stand, begins with Knight pulling quickly into the driveway, where he is immediately confronted by Sloan.
The two men trade blows through the driver’s window of the truck for about 20 seconds before Knight reverses the vehicle, knocking Sloan to the ground.
A few seconds later the truck reappears, accelerating through the driveway and running over both Sloan and Carter as two other men scamper out of the way. One of those men then removes a black object that Fletcher says is a handgun from the injured Sloan and slips it into his waistband.
Knight has pleaded innocent to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges stemming from the incident.
The co-founder of influential Death Row Records has previous convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and could face 25 years to life in prison under California’s so-called three-strikes law if he is convicted at trial.
Knight, who was shot six times in a nightclub altercation last year, has been taken to a jail infirmary complaining of ill health following several hearings in the case.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Lambert