Friday, September 22, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Friday, September 22, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Probes Suge Knight’s Spat With Dr. Dre

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The murder charges hanging over Suge Knight have roots in a dispute with Dr. Dre, a technician for the movie "Straight Outta Compton" testified Monday.

Knight is accused of killing his longtime friend Terry Carter, 55, and critically injuring film technician Cle Denyale "Bone" Sloan after an argument over a promotional spot for the upcoming movie, "Straight Outta Compton."

Prosecutors say Knight ran over the two men with his pickup in the parking lot of Compton restaurant Tam's Burgers on Jan. 29 after an altercation with Sloan.

Rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were in the area filming a promo for the movie, a fictional biopic about their defunct rap group, N.W.A.

With Knight looking on in the courtroom Monday, Sloan took the stand at a preliminary hearing. For the bulk of proceedings, Sloan said he did not recall events that led to Carter's death.

As prosecutor Cynthia Barnes questioned him, Sloan confirmed that he had an argument with Knight after the Death Row Records founder appeared uninvited at a production base camp.

Sloan, who has appeared in minor roles in the movies "End of Watch" and "Training Day," said he left the camp about 45 minutes after Knight, driving along Rosecrans Avenue.

He told the court he "embellished" his story when describing events at Tam's to authorities because he felt some responsibility for Carter's death.

"Terry was dead, so I was trying to cover myself a bit," Sloan said.

Barnes read a transcript of an interview between Sloan and two detectives in which he described trading blows with Knight.

Sloan repeatedly told Barnes that he could not recall his earlier testimony, leading Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen to call him a "deceptive" witness.

Citing a former gang membership, Sloan also told the court that he did not want to be remembered as a "snitch."

"I want to get this behind me," Sloan said. "It's not my legacy. I don't want that smut on me."

Sloan made clear that he was only in court because he was subpoenaed to appear.

"I won't be used to send Suge Knight to prison," he said.

Sloan sometimes winced and shuffled uncomfortably in his seat during breaks. He told the court that the incident had left him with fractured ankles and torn ligaments in his knees.

"My head was split open to the skull and I had a chipped bone on my neck," Sloan said. He said he spent four to five days in hospital and needed 17 stitches on top of his head.

Sloan, credited on movie industry website IMDb as a technical adviser, director, actor and producer, said that he often works with gang members in crime-ridden areas of the city.

He said he had offered gang members $350 a day to work on "Straight Outta Compton."

"What I do is employ the community to be part of it," said Sloan, who testified that he had lived in Compton "off and on" since he was a child.

Sloan previously told authorities that his altercation with Knight came after a disagreement at a production base camp, where he working.

Sloan learned that Dr. Dre's bodyguards would not move until Knight left the area, the court heard.

Sloan declined to go into specifics but said that there was a dispute between Knight and the producers.

Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, fell out with Knight in 1996 after Dr. Dre left the record company he founded with Knight, Death Row Records.

The rapper, producer and businessman is a credited producer on "Straight Outta Compton."

"I think him and Dre had a problem," Sloan said. "I really don't know the details."

Knight has maintained he was acting in self-defense.

Outside the courthouse in downtown L.A., Knight's attorney Matt Fletcher said Sloan had attacked his client.

"From the beginning to the end, he was the aggressor," Fletcher said.

The attorney said he had heard rumors of a dispute between Dr. Dre and Knight.

"They say there are restraining orders. I haven't seen a restraining order. They say there are negative contacts. I haven't seen any negative contacts. Everything goes back, in his mind, 20 or 30 years. But that's how long for sure Sloan has been going after Suge," Fletcher said.

Knight collapsed in court in March after a judge set bail at $25 million in his murder case. He was taken to hospital several times after court appearances earlier this year.

Knight was at the center of a feud between West Coast and East Coast rappers in the mid-1990s. He was driving the car carrying rapper Tupac Shakur when the latter was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996.

Witness testimony will continue Thursday at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.