A Timeline of Suge Knight's Criminal History

Suge Knight
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Once upon a time, Suge Marion Knight was the king of the west coast. He ran the studio and the streets. His friends ranged from famous rap stars to gang lords. Those days are gone.

These days, Suge Knight is better known for his exhaustive rap sheet. Knight, whose nickname is Sugar Bear, has a long history of legal troubles. The Death Row Records founder was recently charged with murder in a fatal car crash. Here's a chronological account of Suge Knight's criminal history.


In October 1987, Knight is arrested and charged with domestic violence for assaulting his girlfriend and chopping off her ponytail on the street.

On Halloween, Knight is arrested for allegedly stealing a vehicle while carrying a concealed weapon. He's also charged with attempted murder after firing at the driver three times during the auto theft. He pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge and is placed on probation for two years.


Suge Knight, who co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre, violates his probation by assaulting two rappers at a Hollywood recording studio.


Knight pleads guilty to a felony for armed robbery and assault with a firearm.


Knight is involved in a scuffle just hours before his artist 2Pac was shot and killed, thus violating the terms of his parole. He's sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Knight is grazed by bullets while driving the car in which Tupac Shakur is fatally shot.


He's released after serving 5 years in prison. As part of his parole conditions, he's not allowed to make contact with his former partner, Dr. Dre.


In December 2002, Knight is arrested for violating his probation after moving to Malibu without notifying his parole officer. He's also found to be consorting with known gang members. He's released after 61 days behind bars.


In June 2003, Suge slugs a parking lot valet outside a Los Angeles nightclub. He serves 10 months for the offense.


Knight is stopped for an illegal U-turn. Police find marijuana in Sugar Bear's vehicle during the traffic stop. He's found to have violated his parole. He's jailed for a week and placed under house arrest for two months.

Knight is shot at a Kanye West MTV Music Awards party in Miami. He sues Kanye West, citing mental damages and seeking physical damages and surgery costs.


On April 4, Knight files for bankruptcy and declares both himself and Death Row up Records bankrupt. He claims debts of more than $100 million.


Sugar Bear is involved in an altercation. He's knocked out cold for three minutes by the World Famous Knockout Guy. Like a true G, Knight refuses to cooperate with police.

He's arrested on drug and aggravated assault charges. Metro police spot him punching a naked woman with one hand while clutching a knife in the other.

He's charged with a felony assault with a deadly weapon, drug possession, and domestic violence. He posts a $19,000 bail.


Knight sustains face injuries after being punched twice by Akon's business manager, Robert L. Carnes Jr. during an altercation at the W Scottsdale Hotel during NBA All-Star weekend.


Knight is arrested for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Police found multiple outstanding warrants for previous violations. Knight is placed on three years of unsupervised probation.


In February 2014, Dr. Dre sues Suge Knight and Death Row for $3.05 million in unpaid royalties for the music he worked on while at the Suge Knight-led label. Dre claims the company owes him $1.2 million in artist-producer royalties, $1.1 million in digital sales and $676,000 in unpaid mechanical royalties.

Knight is shot at a West Hollywood pre-MTV VMAs party...again. This time, the party was hosted by Chris Brown. Knight survives six bullets and surgery. Naturally, Knight refuses to cooperate with law enforcement.

He's arrested in Las Vegas for second-degree robbery and driving with a suspended license. Knight and Katt Williams are suspected for a Beverly Hills robbery in which they allegedly stole a camera and inflicted minor injuries on the unlucky shutterbug.


Knight is arrested on suspicion of murder over a fatal hit-and-run incident that left one man dead. He turns himself into LAPD. He's later hospitalized for a possibly fatal blood clot.

At a March 20 hearing, Suge Knight collapses in court after learning that his bail is set at $25 million. His bail has since been lowered to $10 million.


Awaiting his murder trial, Knight fires his lawyer based on a suspected leak from his legal team to the prosecutor. He replaces him with Stephen L. Schwartz, known for his representation of Michael Jackson during Jackson's child molestation case.