By Michael Fleeman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge set bail on Friday at $25 million for Suge Knight in a murder case, agreeing on the amount requested by prosecutors who had described the rap mogul in court papers as being "incapable of stopping his violent criminal behavior."
Knight, 49, is accused of running down two men with a pickup truck at a Los Angeles area burger stand on Jan. 29, killing one of them, following an argument on the set of a commercial for the film “Straight Outta Compton.”
The Death Row records co-founder had been held without bail on charges of murder, attempted murder and two counts of hit-and-run with an added allegation of committing a violent felony while free on bail in another case.
At a bail-review hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen also set a preliminary hearing for April 13.
Knight, who has been taken to the hospital after several of his recent court appearances, collapsed following the hearing and was taken out of the courtroom on a gurney, his attorney told the Los Angeles Times.
In seeking the multimillion-dollar bail, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed an extensive motion of 295 pages of legal papers and supporting material portraying Knight as a career criminal and repeated violator of probation and parole dating back to 1987.
The motion alleges that Knight is “physically incapable of stopping his violent criminal behavior” and that since being released from prison in 2002 he “has continued his repugnant life of crime.”
Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes noted Knight was free on bail in a robbery case involving the theft of a paparazzo’s camera at the time he allegedly ran down Terry Carter, 55, and Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, with a Ford F-150. Carter died; Sloan survived his injuries.
The prosecution motion also alleged that Knight is part of an “ongoing extortion scheme” in which new rappers arriving in Los Angeles and Las Vegas are required to pay him a "tax."
Knight has pleaded innocent and his lawyers have denied that he intentionally tried to kill Carter and Sloan. One attorney, Matthew Fletcher, also says Knight is blind in his left eye and may not have seen clearly during the incident.
Knight has previous convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and could face 25 years to life in prison under California's so-called three-strikes law if he is convicted at trial.
(Reporting by Michael Fleeman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Eric Beech and Christian Plumb)