Nate Dogg pleaded guilty to possession of an unmarked gun on Tuesday in Norwalk, California, avoiding jail time in a case that began when he allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and set her mom's car on fire.
In sentencing the rapper, Norwalk Superior Court Judge Michael Cowell placed him on three years' probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine, according to Deputy District Attorney Marc Burnley. Cowell also ruled that the firearm be destroyed.
Nate Dogg faced up to three years in state prison if convicted of the initial charge, possession of a firearm by a felon; he cannot legally possess a gun because he was convicted in a 1996 drug case. But on Tuesday the MC accepted Burnley's offer to reduce the felony charge to misdemeanor possession of an unmarked firearm (a gun with no serial number) in return for a guilty plea.
The 31-year-old Nate Dogg (born Nathaniel Dawayne Hale) had played two dates on Dr. Dre's Up in Smoke tour when he was arrested at his Pomona, California, house in June 2000 for allegedly holding his ex-girlfriend against her will, assaulting her and setting her mother's car on fire. The Los Angeles County SWAT team busted the rapper and discovered the weapon in his home (see "Nate Dogg Arrested By SWAT Team"). He quickly rejoined the hip-hop bill after posting $1 million bail.
Five of six charges in the case were dropped in March, when a Los Cerritos Superior Court judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold him to charges of arson, kidnapping, domestic abuse, battery and terrorist threats. His ex-girlfriend wouldn't cooperate with prosecutors, a spokesperson for the district attorney said (see "Five Of Six Charges Against Nate Dogg Dropped").
"[When] this case started ... there were a host of charges against him," Nate Dogg's attorney, Mark Geragos, said. "We're delighted it was resolved with a misdemeanor."