Suge Knight was ordered to pay $81 million to the family of the lawyer he killed


Suge Knight Should Pay $81 Million to Family of 'Murder Burger' Victim, Lawyer Argues

Death Row Records founder Suge Knight should be forced to pay Terry Carter’s family $81 million, an attorney representing his widow and two daughters told a Los Angeles County jury Tuesday. Knight was convicted of involuntary manslaughter when he ran over Carter in his Ford Raptor seven years ago after trying to get in touch with Dr. to meet Dre on set Direct from Compton to discuss an alleged assassination.

It was the first time attorney, Lance Behringer, had settled the Carter family’s loss with a dollar during the nearly month-long wrongful death civil trial that led to closing arguments a week after Knight testified remotely from prison figured.

Knight, 57, is now serving 28 years behind bars after not appealing Carter’s voluntary manslaughter under a deal that avoided a threatened trial. Prosecutors initially charged Knight with murder, alleging that he intentionally accelerated and mowed down Carter in the Tam’s Burgers parking lot on Jan. 29, 2015, amid a fight with a man named Cle “Bone” Sloan, a former gang member working as a security guard worked to Direct from Comptonthe Dre and Ice Cube-produced film about the rise of rap group NWA

“Dying alone on the concrete floor at Tam’s Burgers wasn’t a natural death. He was taken from these three women,” Behringer said, pointing to Carter’s wife, Lillian Carter, and his two daughters, Nekaya and Crystal, who were sitting in the front row of the courtroom. Behringer said each woman makes $1 million for each of the 27 years Carter likely would have lived if Knight hadn’t crushed him with his truck, at what was said to be a friendly meeting to cool tensions after Knight turned his back on him Direct from Compton base camp of production.

“Nobody feels comfortable talking about money,” Behringer said. “But we have to do that.”

Supporters of the Carter family filled the courtroom gallery with tears as Behringer described Terry Carter as a successful local businessman and doting husband and father who once completely remodeled Crystal’s bedroom and installed a fireplace in it to keep her from looking after her turn 18 to move out.

Knight’s defense attorney, David Kenner, told the jury in his final duel that Carter was undoubtedly a great man. He said Knight considered Carter a friend and was devastated by what happened. He called the Tam’s Burgers incident “a tragic accident and loss of life.”

Knight, 57, listened to part of closing arguments remotely on Tuesday, although his video link was not shown to the jury like he did during his live testimony. During his June 8 address, Knight referred to Tam’s as “Murder Burger” and said it was both a notorious place for murder and a place criminals should avoid due to its many cameras.

Speaking to the jury Tuesday, Behringer described the jailed former rap impresario’s testimony in the case as “everywhere.” He highlighted a seemingly incriminating response Knight gave when asked by Kenner what he was “trying to do” as he sped through the Tam’s parking lot, hitting Sloan and killing Carter before coming out the other side. Knight testified that Sloan had a gun pointed at him that he “feared [his] Life.”

“I drove straight ahead. I saw the guy in front of my truck,” Knight said in the testimony, which Behringer read for the jury and projected onto two large screens in the courtroom. “I saw the guy in my mirror. I wanted to make sure I got this guy, and I did.” Behringer argued the testimony was a confession that Knight Carter clearly saw, which Kenner later denied in his closing remarks.

The Carter family attorney did not play Tam’s surveillance video, which was repeatedly shown throughout the case, but told the jury they would have continued access to it during deliberations. In the video, Knight’s truck can be seen pulling into the Tam’s driveway from a nearby road following an alleged initial confrontation between Knight and Sloan on an adjacent road. A man identified as Sloan rushes to the truck and begins fighting Knight through the open driver’s side window. Knight then backs out of the parking lot, knocks Sloan to the ground, starts his truck, accelerates, and shoots back through the burger stand lot, running over both Sloan and Carter and killing Carter.

“The moment the defendant backed up Knight and drove out of Tam’s — that’s when Bone is down. Whether you believe there was a gun or not, no gun was pointed at [Knight] back then,” Behringer argued. “The gun doesn’t matter. At this point there is no threat.”

Behringer told jurors that Knight testified last week that he suffered from post-traumatic stress after being shot seven times at 1Oak nightclub in 2014 and was told by law enforcement that Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, paid someone to kill him, Knight also testified that he didn’t think Dre wanted him dead and that he “never said Sloan was there to kill me.” The Carter family attorney argued that Knight’s testimony made “no sense.”

“Knight set the events in motion. Knight had the two-ton gun. Knight should have driven away. Knight should have seen Terry. Knight saw Terry. He said so,” Behringer said. He argued that a “reasonable person” would have stayed at home and not visited a film set to meet up with someone after hearing that person wanted them dead. Kenner disagreed.

“It is not surprising that Mr. Knight went to base camp where Dr. Dre and Ice Cube would both be there to resolve that question of whether or not his life was in danger,” argued Kenner. He said his client wanted Dr. Look Dre in the eye, let him know what the police allegedly said, and make it clear that he doesn’t believe it. Kenner then argued that Knight was only not pleading a fight against voluntary manslaughter because he was about to be tried with an unprepared attorney and didn’t want to “gamble” and “die in prison.”

Kenner asked the jury to sit in the cab of Knight’s truck during the 30 seconds that Sloan allegedly attacked him twice. “Imagine someone hitting you, stalking you again, hitting you again, pointing a gun at you and threatening to kill you,” he said. “You have to decide what you would have done then,” he argued.

Kenner said Knight is not “questioning the value of Mr. Carter’s life,” just who is liable. “With all due apologies to Ms. Carter and the Carter family, I ask you to render a non-liability ruling,” he said.

The Carter family filed the underlying lawsuit in June 2015. The original lawsuit called Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and NBC Universal were among the defendants, claiming they were all aware that Knight was objecting Direct from Compton and intended to commit violence on the film’s sets. The family claimed the producers hired Sloan to stand up to Knight’s violence and then negligently guided him.

Dre and Ice Cube, née O’Shea Jackson, along with NBC Universal, successfully defended themselves against the complaint.

“The court fails to understand how Knight’s reckless and alleged criminal attempt to run over Bone with his truck later that afternoon could have been predicted with an ‘extraordinarily high degree of foreseeability’ such that a duty could be imposed on the defendants,” das said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brian Currey wrote in a September 2016 decision allowing the parties’ objections. “The alleged fact that the defendants ordered Bone to ‘take control of the situation’ and arrange a meeting with Carter makes it unpredictable that Bone would ‘flank’ and ‘ambush’ Knight by using a personal combat with Knight in the presence of Bone’s associates or that Knight would attempt to recklessly and criminally attack Bone with his vehicle, or that Carter would be in any likely danger.”

While the name of Dr. Dre was named several times Tuesday, the music mogul was not a witness in the case. Attempts to reach his representatives on Tuesday were unsuccessful. He has previously denied wild claims that he paid someone to kill Knight.

“Given that Dre has not had any interaction with Suge since he left Death Row Records in 1996, we hope Suge’s attorney has plenty of insurance against malicious prosecution,” Dre’s attorney said in a 2016 statement, as the allegation emerged in a counterclaim in civil court filed on Knight’s behalf by an attorney whom Knight refuted in testimony last week.

The wrongful death jury began deliberating at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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