Suge Knight Pleads Not Guilty to Murder, Trial Date Set in Hit-and-Run Case

Suge Knight Court - H 2015
AP Images

Suge Knight Court - H 2015

Knight also pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and hit-and-run charges.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge on Thursday set a July trial date for a murder case against Marion "Suge" Knight that was filed after the former rap music mogul ran over two men earlier this year.

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Ronald Coen said Knight's trial will begin on July 7 unless a motion is made to continue it for a later date. He set aside 16 court days to hear the case and said potential jurors will be pre-screened about their ability to serve before they get to the courtroom.

Knight pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges filed after he killed one man and seriously injured another with his pickup outside a Compton burger stand in January.

His attorney has said Knight was fleeing an ambush when he hit the men.

Thursday's hearing marked Knight's first court appearance since Coen decided earlier this month that prosecutors presented enough evidence for him to stand trial.

Knight's attorney, Matt Fletcher, requested bail for the Death Row Records co-founder be reduced from $10 million to $5 million, but Coen refused.

Knight, 50, is due back in court on May 29, when Fletcher will argue the case should be dismissed.

Fletcher argued on Thursday that Cle "Bone" Sloan, who was seriously injured in the parking lot altercation, did not positively identify Knight as the driver during a preliminary hearing. Sloan said he did not want to be labeled a "snitch," and he refused to say Knight ran him over, despite giving a lucid account of the incident to detectives after he was hurt.

Sloan admitted he started the confrontation by hitting Knight through the window of his truck.

Surveillance video captured Knight's truck clipping Sloan when he reversed out of the lot. The truck then ran over Sloan's legs as it sped forward through the lot and hit Terry Carter.

Carter, 55, died from his injuries.