Knight charged with murder

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Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was charged with murder in West Hollywood last Friday after the police said he ran over two people with a pickup truck at a fast-food restaurant.

One of the men died and the second was hospitalised.

Knight drove to a sheriff's station to turn himself in. A video showed him smoking a cigar, laughing and waving to cameras as he approached the station. Before reaching the entrance, Knight, in sunglasses at night, placed the end of his cigar on a tree branch. "When I get out, I can always smoke it," he said.

He was booked at about 3am and held in lieu of US$2 million (S$2.7 million) bail.

The incident is the latest in a long line of violent brushes with the law by Knight, 49, the former chief executive of Death Row Records who helped usher Tupac Shakur, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg into the mainstream.

A police spokesman said Knight became involved in an argument at 3pm last Thursday with several men who were working on a movie in the suburb of Compton, California.

The dispute moved from the set for Straight Outta Compton, a biopic about trailblazing rap group NWA, to the nearby parking lot of Tam's Burgers, where Knight put his red Ford F-150 truck in reverse and hit two people who had been standing behind the vehicle. He then drove away, hitting the men again, the police said.

Mr James Blatt, Knight's lawyer, called the event an accident that occurred when Knight tried to escape from an attack by four men who were trying to grab him through the driver's side window.

A former high-school football star who once worked as a bodyguard for singer Bobby Brown, Knight helped found Death Row Records in the early 1990s. He was said to have got Dr Dre out of a bad record deal with the help of a baseball bat.

He served nearly five years in jail for violating probation during a 1996 fight at a Las Vegas hotel. Hours after that fight, Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Knight's car. Ten years after that unsolved murder, Knight filed for bankruptcy. Death Row Records was later sold at auction for US$18 million.

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