Mistrial in Suge Knight wrongful-death suit of man run down in Tam's Burgers lot

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LOS ANGELES CA FEBRUARY 01, 2018 --- Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, facing criminal threats charges, appears in the court of Judge Craig Richman at Los Angeles Superior Court on February 01, 2018, Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight appears in court in 2018 in Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after the jury deadlocked in a wrongful-death lawsuit against rap impresario Marion "Suge" Knight, court records show.

The suit was filed in 2015 by Lillian Carter after her husband, Terry Carter, was killed after Knight ran over him during filming of the N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton," in which Knight was portrayed.

Knight pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death.

According to court documents, jury deliberation began June 14, but after less than 30 minutes of meeting Wednesday, jurors reported they were deadlocked, 7-5, in favor of the plaintiff, Lillian Carter. A determination requires nine votes in favor of the plaintiff.

"The Court and Counsel confer regarding declaring a mistrial. Both sides agree that a mistrial should be declared," court records said.

The suit alleged that Universal Studios, which distributed the film and was named in the lawsuit — along with producers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, among others — knew of the tension between Knight, Dre and advisor Cle "Bone" Sloan, but moved forward with the film.

Knight, who is played in the film by actor R. Marcus Taylor, objected to his portrayal.

Terry Carter was killed after Knight and Sloan fought in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers in Compton. Knight reversed a pickup he was driving and hit Sloan, who was knocked unconscious and injured in the head and legs. He then pulled forward, striking Carter, and drove off.

At the time of the fatal hit-and-run, Knight was facing charges in connection with a 2014 robbery and was out on bail.

He was sentenced to 28 years in state prison in 2018 under a plea deal that averted a trial. Lillian Carter said after three years of legal wrangling, the moment couldn’t have come soon enough. She said the years of courtroom drama and breathless media coverage continually shifted the focus from her late husband to the fate of the fallen rap impresario.

“He made everything about him,” she said at the time of Knight's sentencing, speaking of Knight. “What about us?”

Attempts to reach Carter for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Before his downfall, Knight's storied career included the founding of Death Row Records alongside Dr. Dre and his launches of rappers such as Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

Times staff writer James Queally contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.