Jurors declared themselves “at an impasse” Friday in California’s civil trial over whether Suge Knight should be held liable – and paid millions in damages – for killing Compton’s married father Terry Carter with his Ford Raptor truck, seven years ago, in the midst of a parking dispute with another man. linked to the NWA biopic straight from Compton.
Jurors told the judge that their vote was split into seven to five without confirming which way they were leaning. They need nine votes out of 12 for a verdict in the wrongful death case centered on allegations of negligence and assault.
The judge let the jury go home early and ordered them back Tuesday morning to keep trying.
“We know you have a very difficult division, but the consensus for everyone is that we want to try to find an end to this case if possible,” said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas D. Long. “We want to make sure that all efforts to reach a verdict, one way or another, have been exhausted.”
The warning came after the jury sent a note to the judge on Thursday that read: “We are currently unable to produce nine aligned votes for aggression or negligence.”
In a rare move, the judge brought the deliberating jurors back to court on Friday morning and allowed both sides an extra five minutes of closing arguments on two new instructions related to Knight’s claim that he was acting legitimately. defense when he ran over a man named Cle “Bone” Sloan before hitting and killing Carter, 55.
Knight and Sloan, a former gang member straight from Compton team member, was fighting the driver’s side window of Knight’s truck before the Ford F-150 Raptor reversed, knocking Sloan to the ground, and then exploded forward again, passing over Sloan’s body lying on the street and taking down Carter, surveillance video of the deadly January 29, 2015 incident outside Tam’s Burgers in Compton shows.
The new instructions related to the question of whether Knight can avoid responsibility in the case by claiming self-defense.
“If you believe that Marion ‘Suge’ Knight lawfully acted in self-defense, he must do so with reasonable care to avoid harm to innocent bystanders,” read one of the new instructions issued on Friday. The second instruction stated that “the right to self-defense ends when there is no longer any apparent danger of further violence on the part of the aggressor”, including after an alleged victim acts in self-defense and “uses sufficient force on his aggressor in such a way as to make the aggressor apparently unable to inflict further injuries.”
In his final five-minute extra-minute argument, Carter family attorney Lance Behringer argued that Knight was no longer in imminent danger when Sloan was thrown from the truck and fell to the ground.
“He knocks him down. He has the right to do that, 100 percent. If someone comes after you, you have the right to take him down. You have to do what you have to do,” Behringer said. But once Sloan was on the ground, not moving, the threat was neutralized, the lawyer said. “That moment is when you have to stop. That’s what the law says, and you have to follow the law,” Behringer argued. “You can’t just freak out and knock people down.”
Knight’s attorney, David Kenner, argued that his client was the victim of what he thought was an armed ambush coordinated by several men. Kenner said Carter, a well-connected local businessman who invited Knight to Tam’s to help broker a payment for the use of Knight’s name and likeness in straight from Comptondid not fit the definition of an innocent bystander.
“He is not an innocent bystander if he injects himself into the confrontation. He sees what Cle ‘Bone’ Sloan is doing and enters this scene. He’s next to the car and a tragic accident occurred,” Kenner argued, asking jurors to review the video. “It was an unfortunate accident. This was not the result of negligence.”
Carter’s wife Lillian Carter got up and walked out of the courtroom before Behringer showed the graphic video of her husband’s death. Carter’s two daughters, Nekaya and Crystal remained, but Crystal hid her face in her hands as Nekaya seemed to look away.
Knight, 57, is now serving 28 years behind bars after pleading no contest to Carter’s voluntary manslaughter under a settlement that avoided an imminent murder trial and a possible life sentence if convicted.
Knight gave his first courtroom testimony about the incident during the civil trial, appearing remotely from prison. He claimed that he visited the production base camp of straight from Compton that day, hoping to find Dr. Dre face to face to inform him, police allegedly told Knight that the former NWA member, producer and Beats by Dre mogul had paid someone to kill him.
Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, has denied the allegation through his lawyers. Knight, meanwhile, stated in his deposition that he simply wanted to meet with Dr. Dre to let him know he didn’t believe the murder-for-hire claim. Still, Knight told jurors that he believed his life was in danger when Sloan, who testified during Knight’s criminal case that he was working for Dr. straight from Compton, attacked him outside the Tam and allegedly pointed a gun at him. (Sloan testified in 2015 that he did not have a weapon in the confrontation.)
Carter’s family is seeking damages in the amount of $81 million. The judge ordered jurors to return Tuesday morning to continue deliberating.