Remotely emerging from a cinderblock room painted neon white, imprisoned Death Row Records founder Suge Knight first testified on Wednesday about the day in early 2015 when he tried – but failed – to get an interview with Dr. Dre in an office for the film Straight from Compton He ended up throwing his truck at two men outside a nearby burger stand, killing one of them.
Knight, 57, is serving a 28-year sentence for the fatal incident at Tams Burgers in Compton, California, that killed local businessman Terry Carter on January 29, 2015. Prosecutors originally charged Knight with the murder, claiming he reversed His Ford Raptor truck before intentionally shifted gears, hit the gas, and clipped Carter. The case avoided trial when Knight agreed to a plea bargain and was convicted of premeditated murder in September 2018.
Knight’s long-awaited, and sometimes contradictory, testimony was shown live in front of the jury in Compton Court on Wednesday as the centerpiece of his defense in the wrongful death case brought by Carter’s wife and daughters.
Knight, wearing a gold chain over his blue prison uniform and drinking what looked like iced coffee from a large plastic cup, claimed to have found Straight from Compton Production base camp that day and was not seeking a confrontation with Dre – although Knight testified under oath that police told him that Dre had hired the man who shot him seven times at Chris Brown’s party six months earlier in the summer of 2014.
Knight testified on Wednesday when asked about the alleged pay-for-kill contract: “I was told that.” “People showed me checks and canceled checks.”
For his part, Dre denied the unbridled accusations. Dre’s attorney said in a 2016 statement when a lawyer allegedly representing Knight dropped the claim in a complaint against an abolished civil court.
In his testimony Wednesday, Knight claimed that he never worked with the attorney who filed the complaint, but did not shy away from the topic of the alleged killers. He claimed that he ended up at the film’s production office shortly before Carter’s death because he was driving in the “Zone” and an unknown person asked him to “come in” to discuss the “situation” with Dre.
“Dr. Dre—we’ve been really good friends for years. In fact, I know his kids, he knows my kids. And I was told he paid some guys to do me harm,” Knight testified. I couldn’t believe it because the authorities are lying. So I went up there. … I was going to talk to him and say, “Hey man, I’m not going to react to what the authorities are saying about you having an affair with shooting you. I just want to make you realize they’re saying this, and they put it out there.”
Knight claimed that he was not in the main camp to complain that the film’s script portrays him as a “bodyguard” or to demand money for the use of his name and likeness on screen. He said it might happen – but he mostly wanted to be face to face with Dre to let him know what the police were saying. He claimed that when he heard Dre and Straight from Compton Co-producer Ice Cube was too “busy” for the meeting, and it didn’t matter because he was planning to take his 5-year-old son to a gym. Knight said he was leaving base camp voluntarily when someone “followed him” and said, “Hey, Cube wants you back (again) because we were trying to catch you to take care of you.”
Knight testified that when he specifically asked about Dre and said he didn’t want to wait all day, things started going sideways. Klee “Bon” Sloan, a gang member who works in security for the film, took a prank and started acting “aggressively”, Knight said. At about the same time, he testified, someone tried to put something on the windshield.
“Have you ever received a restraining order allegedly issued against you by Dr. Dre?” asked Knight’s attorney David Keener after the confusing sign of the windshield.
Knight replied, “No.” “Start.”
Knight testified that, after leaving the film production office for a walk with his family, he received a call from Carter, an old friend. He told jurors that Carter invited him to a private meeting with Dre at Dwayne “Noob” Johnson’s home across the street from Thames.
He said, ‘They’re trying to take care of you, put some things away. Dre will come next to Nob’s house. Come meet me there. “Man trying to give you some bread,” he said, Knight testified, saying he agreed, turned a turn and headed to the site.
According to Knight, he drove along with his gray Carter van down a street on the Thames border and became the target of an armed ambush. He said Sloan jumped off a wall adjacent to Tam’s parking lot, waved a gun and began punching him through the open window of his truck.
Lance Beringer, a lawyer representing Carter’s widow Lillian, and his two daughters, Nikaya and Crystal, questioned Knight about the allegation that he “feared for his life” and was acting in self-defense when he fired on his engine and exploded in both Sloan and Carter, killing Carter.
Behringer read from Knight’s ruling text in which Justice Knight cautioned that his admission of “no objection” is the same as an admission of guilt for premeditated murder. Behringer also noted that Knight’s former attorney, Matthew Fletcher, recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy and perjury after prosecutors said he conspired with Knight to bribe people to say they saw men with rifles confront Knight in Tam.
“Isn’t it true that instead of leaving on 142nd Street, having retreated from Tam’s parking lot, fearing for your life, you decided to return to Tam’s parking lot?” Behringer asked.
Knight replied that fear “kinda freezes you,” which is why he moved forward, backward, and then forward again.
Behringer then confronted Knight by transcribing his first police interview after Knight turned himself in for questioning hours after Carter’s death.
“No place in that interview with the sergeant. Have you ever mentioned Boone Sloan pointing a gun at you,” said Attorney Biddle.
“Where I come from, Compton, and how my parents taught me, being children of God, it’s not about an eye for an eye. … I wouldn’t have said, ‘Hey, this guy put a gun at me and tried to kill me’ and held them. But at the same time, once I knew They gave the bones immunity, and he can’t get into trouble, if you tell the truth, nothing will happen to him, it’s a different story,” Knight claimed.
“Let me see if I can understand. Sloan, the guy you think pulled a gun towards you, and was trying to kill you, you were trying to protect him by not telling the sergeant. Biddle that he had a gun there? Is that accurate?” asked Behringer.
“We are all friends. There are different rules that we follow – you don’t personally try to put one of your buddies into custody, no matter the situation. So, when he has immunity, and he can’t get into trouble, that makes a difference,” Knight testified.
“And you want this jury to believe that Bon Sloan was there to kill you, and he had a gun that he intended to use to kill you, but instead of using that gun, he decided to throw punches. Is that right?” Behringer asked.
“It’s not true at all,” Knight said, launching into one of his more complex answers. “The truth is that Tam’s restaurant is called a ‘Murder Burger’ for a reason. One thing we all know is that you can’t do anything in the Tam area because of the cameras. … Nobody ever pulled their guns down on Tam. Everyone knows there are cameras. Ask anyone , they call Tam the ‘murder burger.’ A lot of people who didn’t know they had cameras there, are still in prison today.”
Nate added as Carter’s daughter Nikaya—who was sitting in the courtroom with her mother and sister—was shaking her head in disgust.
The Carter family filed the primary lawsuit in June 2015. It initially named Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and NBC Universal among the defendants, claiming that they all knew Nate objected to it. Straight from Compton She intends to commit acts of violence on film sites. The family alleged that producers hired Sloan to stand up to Nate’s violence and then treated him negligently.
Dre and Cube, born Andre Young and O’Shea Jackson respectively, successfully fought off the complaint with NBC Universal.
“The court cannot understand how Knight’s alleged reckless and criminal attempt to run over Boone with his truck later in the afternoon was so predictable” with such a high degree of predictability” that a duty could be imposed on the defendants,” the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge wrote. Brian Currie in a September 2016 decision granting the parties’ objections. The alleged fact that the defendants ordered Boone to “control the situation” and arrange a meeting with Carter does not make it very likely that Boone would “surround” the “wing” and “ambush” Knight by continuing a personal fight with Knight in the presence of accomplices. Bone or that Knight would attempt to recklessly and criminally attack Bone with his vehicle, or Carter would be in any potential danger.”
Knight appeared on camera on Wednesday walking with and without a cane. He testified that he was “100% blind” in his left eye.
“Don’t you agree, Mr. Knight, that if you drive without a valid driver’s licence, and you are blind with one eye, and if you run over someone and kill someone on the sidewalk, you should be responsible?” Behringer asked.
Knight replied that he could “see enough” to drive. “Like now, I can tilt my head the right way, I can see you, but in a different way, I can’t,” he said.
The Carter family’s civil lawsuit, which is seeking more than $10 million in damages, is expected to run until next week before it goes to jury.