Killer Of Original GRAND FUNK RAILROAD Manager Sentenced To Life In Prison

May 27, 2005

Bryn Mickle of The Flint Journal has issued the following report:

A Texas man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday (May 26) for killing former GRAND FUNK RAILROAD manager Terry Knight.

Donald A. Fair, 27, of Temple did not speak before his sentencing, but his attorney read a short statement apologizing on Fair's behalf.

"He said he was sorry for all the pain he caused and that he deserved everything he got," said Cindy Franklin, assistant Bell County district attorney.

It took a jury less than an hour last month to find Fair guilty of stabbing Knight, 61, to death during a Nov. 1 fight.

Fair stabbed Knight 17 times with a hunting knife after Knight punched him in the face during an argument at Knight's apartment.

Investigators said the fight started after Knight stepped in to stop an argument between Fair and Knight's then-16-year-old daughter, Danielle.

Fair and Danielle Knight were arguing about methamphetamine before the stabbing.

Danielle Knight was too upset to read her victim impact statement at the sentencing, said Franklin.

Fair's mother testified on her son's behalf Thursday, telling the judge that Fair's life went downhill after his wife left him.

His mother told the judge she did not know that Danielle was only 16 and said the slaying had devastated Fair's family.

The judge could have given Fair as little as 5 years in prison but told Fair that the circumstances of Knight's murder warranted life, Franklin said.

Under Texas law, Fair will serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole.

"We considered this to be a brutal murder with no justification," said Franklin.

Fair's claims that he was high on methamphetamine when he killed Knight are "no excuse for a violent act," said Franklin.

Fair's attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Knight rose to fame in the 1960s, working as a disc jockey and musician before becoming manager of the Flint-based GRAND FUNK.

After four years as the band's manager, the members fired Knight in 1972, but he lived off GRAND FUNK royalties for the rest of his life.

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