Suge Knight, former rap mogul, sentenced to 28 years in prison for hit-and-run death - CNN

I believe there are two reasons - other than the obvious that he may have been worried about getting a third strike for a violent felony at either his murder case where he allegedly ran down two people with his truck (killing one) or his other case where he allegedly robbed a cameraman for his camera. In California a third strike (three strikes - you're out) would have landed him a 25 to life indeterminate sentence, with no possibility of parole until at least 85% of the 25 years had passed, and a violent felony conviction in either case would have struck him out. Let's not forget as well that all his high powered paid attorneys had been removed from his case, leaving him with nothing but public defenders, whom he probably did not believe in as far as their abilities to save him from jury convictions.

The first reason, is that he may believe that pursuant to Prop. 57, which provides for early parole for certain California offenders who have received enhanced sentences due to prison priors, that he might be eligible for parole as soon as 14 years (50%) of his 28 year (determinate) sentence. However, as a violent criminal I do not believe he is Prop. 57 eligible, but still, perhaps he is hanging his hopes on some kind of early parole.

Secondly, he has already been to prison and knows that living conditions in California prison are much better than in county jail, especially better than the solitary confinement cell he has been in at L.A. County Jail. With deteriorating health, he may have decided to get himself out on the prison yard, with more freedom.

The end result of this plea might be that Suge Knight will never see the outside of a penal institution, but he may have figured that at least with a determinate sentence, he might have a chance at a little freedom at some point later in his life.