Nipsey Hussle trial verdict: Jury finds gunman Eric Holder Jr. guilty of murder in Los Angeles shooting

LOS ANGELES — A jury on Wednesday found a 32-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder in the 2019 fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle.

The Los Angeles County jury also found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter instead of two counts of attempted murder as prosecutors searched for two other men who were shot at the scene.

Holder, wearing a blue suit and face mask, stood next to his attorney in the small courtroom as the verdict was read. He had no visible reaction.

The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching a verdict.

The verdict ends a more than three-year legal saga and a trial that has often been delayed because of the pandemic.

Holder and Hussle had known each other for years — they grew up as members of the same street gang in South Los Angeles — when a chance meeting outside the rapper’s Los Angeles clothing store led to the shooting and his death.

The evidence against Holder was overwhelming, from eyewitnesses to local business surveillance cameras that recorded his arrival, the shooting, and his departure.

His attorney didn’t even deny he was the shooter, asking the jury to find him guilty of the lesser charge of first degree manslaughter.

MORE: Lauren London honors late fiance Nipsey Hussle at memorial service

The shooting followed the two men talking about rumors that Holder had acted as an informant for authorities. Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, said that the public accusation of being a “snitch” by someone as prominent as Hussle caused Holder to experience a “heat of passion” that rendered him not guilty of first-degree murder.

“This is a provocation that fuels anger and strong emotions,” Jansen told jurors Thursday.

Assistant District Attorney John McKinney argued during the trial that Holder and everyone else in the conversation before Hussle’s death had been so calm that the “sniffing” conversation could not have been the primary motive, and that Holder must have had envy or hatred earlier for Hussle .

McKinney told the jury that the nine minutes between the interview and the shooting allowed more than enough time to premeditate the murder, a requirement for first-degree murder.

The jury was apparently unanimous.

Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, died at the age of 33. He had just released his major label debut album, which earned him his first Grammy nomination, when he was gunned down.

He was a widely popular figure in Los Angeles, particularly in the South LA area, where he grew up and stayed after rising to fame, buying real estate and opening businesses.

“He wanted to change the neighborhood,” McKinney said in his closing argument. “He had the same friends. And the neighborhood loved him. They called him Neighborhood Nip.”

Hussle was mourned at a memorial in what was then known as the Staples Center and celebrated at a performance at the Grammy Awards, also attended by DJ Khaled and John Legend.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Nipsey Hussle trial verdict: Jury finds gunman Eric Holder Jr. guilty of murder in Los Angeles shooting

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