(BBC) — Former US rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight has pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge over a hit-and-run incident in 2015.
The Death Row Records founder made the plea to avoid charges of murdering one man and attempting to murder a second with his pick-up truck in Los Angeles.
He will be formally sentenced to 28 years in prison in October.
His record label helped launch the careers of artists including Dr Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.
Under Californian state law, a no contest plea is the legal equivalent of a guilty plea.
As part of the agreement, the murder charges against Knight, 53, will be dismissed by prosecutors, along with separate criminal cases charging him with robbery and making criminal threats.
The deal, in which Knight admitted using a “deadly and dangerous weapon” when he ran down two men with his vehicle, calls for him to serve 22 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter with a further six years added because of the US “three-strikes” law relating to repeated violations.
Had Knight been found guilty of murder as originally charged, he would have faced life in prison, prosecutors said.
What happened in the hit-and-run?
The charge relates to an incident in January 2015 in Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles.
Knight was accused of deliberately running over two men with his pick-up truck before fleeing the scene following an argument relating to the making of Straight Outta Compton, a biopic about pioneering rap group NWA.
One of the victims, Terry Carter, died of his injuries while the other, Cle “Bone” Sloan, suffered serious injuries to his feet and head.
Footage of the incident captured by security cameras show Knight’s vehicle pulling up to a drive-in burger stand, with one of the victims approaching the driver’s side window. Following what appears to be a brief discussion, a struggle then ensues.
Knight’s truck is seen going into reverse, throwing the man to the ground. It then moves forward, driving over his legs and slams into the other victim, who was killed.
Knight turned himself in to authorities a day after the incident. His attorneys had said he was acting in self-defence and was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over Mr Carter and Mr Sloan.
Mr Sloan has denied claims he was carrying a gun during the confrontation.
Who is Suge Knight?
Knight co-founded Death Row Records with the pioneering producer Dr Dre in the 1990s, but later declared bankruptcy and the company was sold at auction for $24m (£16.7m).
Knight has a history of legal problems. He spent time in jail in 1997 and 2003 for parole violations arising from assault charges. He later pleaded guilty to hitting his girlfriend in an incident in 2008.
While his label was initially very successful, his fortunes began to slide in 1996 when rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in the passenger seat of Knight’s car.
In 1997, rival rapper Biggie Smalls was shot and Knight was sued for wrongful death. Smalls’ estate claimed that Knight ordered the killing in revenge for Shakur’s death. Knight denied it and the suit was dismissed.