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Judge refuses to dismiss Suge Knight murder case

LOS ANGELES — A judge Tuesday refused to dismiss the case against former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who is charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run for allegedly running down two men in Compton in January, killing one.

Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau — the latest in a string of attorneys representing Knight — argued there were “some very troubling issues” about the case and said it was an “outrage that anyone would be charged with homicide in a case like this.”

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes countered that the evidence against Knight was “sufficient” for the case to move forward.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus agreed. He noted that he had reviewed transcripts from an April preliminary hearing before Judge Ronald S. Coen, who ordered Knight, 50, to stand trial.

Knight is charged with killing 55-year-old Terry Carter and injuring Cle “Bone” Sloan on Jan. 29 with his pickup truck in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in the 1200 block of West Rosecrans Avenue.

At the hearing in April, Sloan insisted that he remembered little about the confrontation and said he would not be used as a “snitch” to put the former rap mogul behind bars.

He hesitated when he was asked to identify Knight in court, suggesting that the man sitting in court “doesn’t look like the guy who was out there” and saying that everything went black when he hit the ground. He said he had been “trying to forget that whole incident.”

But attorneys read from a transcript of his interview with detectives shortly after he was struck and Barnes later played the recording for the court. In that hospital interview, Sloan said he had argued with Knight earlier at a film set and was driving to another location when he spotted the defendant in a parking lot and heard Knight bad-mouthing him and making threats.

Sloan told detectives he jumped out of his car and started punching Knight through the window of Knight’s pickup truck.

Knight — who has had a series of medical problems since being arrested — is being held in lieu of $10 million bail, but Mesereau is expected to ask Coen to lower his client’s bail at a July 17 hearing. Outside court, Mesereau declined to tell reporters what amount of bail he would be requesting.

At a separate hearing Tuesday, Coen denied the defense’s request to send Knight’s murder case back to Compton for trial and the robbery case back to the Airport Branch Courthouse for trial.

Mesereau noted that he was not handling the cases when they were transferred to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, and asked that his client be “treated like everybody else.” The judge responded that he was.

Mesereau — who successfully defended singer Michael Jackson against child molestation charges and represented actor Robert Blake for a time in a murder case — told reporters in May that he has “had hours of discussions with Mr. Knight and I am convinced he’s innocent.”

At the time of his arrest on the murder case, Knight was out on bail in a robbery case, in which he is charged with comedian Micah “Katt” Williams.

He’s been behind bars since being arrested Jan. 30 by sheriff’s homicide investigators in connection with Carter’s death.

Knight and Williams are awaiting a Sept. 17 hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial in the robbery case.