Suge Knight
Marion 'Suge' Knight attends court at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles, CaliforniaMark Boster-Pool/Getty Images

A key witness in the hit-and-run murder case against Marion "Suge" Knight told a Los Angeles judge he did not want to be the man who sends the rap music mogul to prison.

Cle "Boan" Sloan, one of two men Knight is accused of deliberately running over in his pickup truck at a hamburger stand in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton on 29 January, 2015, took the witness stand at a preliminary hearing in the case.

It's believed that an altercation occurred between Sloan and Knight who struck Sloan through the window of his vehicle before putting the truck into reverse. He is alleged to have knocked over Sloan and another man, Terry Carter, and then run over both men.

Carter, 55, died as a result of his injuries. Sloan, 51, suffered two fractured ankles, a serious cut to his head, two torn ligaments in his knees and a shoulder injury.

However, as he faced his alleged attacker in court, Sloan balked at giving testimony that would incriminate the defendant and even refused to identify him as the driver of the pick-up truck.

Asked by Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes if he could identify Knight in the courtroom, Sloan said, "That doesn't look like Mr. Knight."

When asked about the incident, he claimed that he couldn't remember the specifics of the fight and does not want to be a "snitch."

Sloan said he was trying to forget details of the accident. "Every day, I try to forget it. I just know, I screwed up, and Terry's dead."

"I will not be used to send Suge Knight to prison," he added.

Previous convictions for armed robbery and assault

Knight, 49, is charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of felony hit-and-run, which followed an argument on the set of a commercial for the film "Straight Outta Compton."

The rap artist has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He was sentenced in February 1997 to prison for violating terms of that probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Tupac Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by attack as he rode in Knight's car just east of the Las Vegas Strip.

The co-founder of the influential hip-hop label Death Row Records, Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.

Knight handed himself in to police after allegedly killing Carter in the hit-and-run incident. If found guilty of murder, would face a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison under California's three-strikes rule. He is being held on $25m (£17m) bail.

Knight has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer has said Knight accidentally ran into the two men as he tried to speed away from the scene of what he thought was an ambush attempt.