COMPTON, Calif. – Former rap music mogul Suge Knight pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and attempted murder charges before complaining of chest pain and being rushed to a hospital.
No further information about his condition was immediately available, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Officer John Gardner said.
Knight wore orange jail attire at the morning court appearance where he entered not guilty pleas to four felonies, including hit-and-run charges, filed after the Death Row Records founder struck two men with his pickup truck last week.
He is due back in court on Feb. 9 when a judge will consider whether to set bail. The 49-year-old Knight could face life in prison if convicted.
Knight is accused of intentionally running down two men, including a friend, in Compton on Thursday. Knight’s attorneys have said he hit the men by accident as Knight fled a vicious attack.
Knight is charged with killing Terry Carter, 55, and attempting to kill Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, after an argument at a location where the movie “Straight Outta Compton,” about the rise of the rap group N.W.A., was being filmed.
Knight’s attorney, David Kenner, said his client is remorseful about Carter’s death but that does not mean he’s guilty of the crimes.
Michael R. Shapiro, an attorney who represents Sloan, said his client has a mangled left foot and is recovering from his injuries under heavy security.
Knight was at the center of one of the most notorious rap conflicts of the 1990s, pitting Tupac Shakur against Biggie Smalls in an East Coast-West Coast rivalry.
Knight was sent to prison for nearly five years for badly beating a rival with Shakur at a Las Vegas hotel, just hours before Shakur was fatally shot while riding in Knight’s car in 1996.
In the current case, Knight struck two men with his pickup in a Compton burger stand parking lot. The collision killed his friend Carter, a founder and owner of Heavyweight Records who was viewed as a community father figure who tried to mentor young men, said Doug Young, a friend and hip-hop music promoter. Sloan is an actor and film consultant.
Authorities said Knight visited the set for “Straight Outta Compton” and argued with Sloan, who was working at the location. Sheriff’s deputies providing security asked Knight to leave.
A short time later, the argument resumed in a parking lot a few miles away where Knight and Sloan exchanged punches through a window of the pickup before the two men were run down, authorities said.
Knight’s former attorney James Blatt has said Knight was attacked by four people, including Sloan, as he pulled into the lot after Carter requested he come for a meeting. Blatt said Knight hit the gas as he fled in fear.