Following a six-hour deliberation earlier this week, a Los Angeles court jury found Eric Ronald Holder Jr., the man accused of fatally shooting Grammy Award-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle, guilty of first-degree murder. It is best to note that Holder has no relation to former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder.
The 32-year-old man also was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after two bystanders were also injured during the March 31, 2019, incident. For the latter, jurors instead convicted him of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, multiple outlets have reported. Holder showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read, The Associated Press reported.
Holder’s lawyer, Aaron Jansen, admitted during the trial that his client shot the “Hussle & Motivate” emcee. He argued that it was not premeditated as prosecutors had claimed earlier.
Instead, the killing happened in the “heat of passion,” roughly nine minutes after a dispute over Hussle reportedly sharing that rumors were circulating that he’d snitched to law enforcement, reportedly with Holder questioning if he had and Hussle brushing him off. Snitching is deemed as a severe offense in gang culture. “This is a provocation that stirs up rage and powerful emotion,” Jansen told jurors during the trial.
Still, the evidence against the suspect was overwhelming. The court heard from eyewitnesses, including 35-year-old Bryannita Nicholson, who admitted she was with the accused killer when the two arrived at the shopping center in the Hyde Park section of Los Angeles. Jurors also watched video footage from nearby businesses, which captured Holder shooting the victim at least 10 times before kicking him in the head and running away.
During closing arguments on Thursday, June 30, deputy district attorney John McKinney said the crime was “calculated.” “Saying, ‘You’re through,’ before shooting him and shooting him a number of times…kicking him in the head, that’s personal,” he added. “What makes this murder first-degree is premeditation and deliberation.”
“He wanted to change the neighborhood,” McKinney said of the 33-year-old born Ermias Asghedom. “He kept the same friends. And the neighborhood loved him. They called him Neighborhood Nip.”
The family of the late rap star have yet to speak publicly about the verdict, but fans and peers have already begun to share their thoughts on the outcome, including one person who wrote, “Finally justice has been served.” Another person commented, “Killed for absolutely nothing but envy! And I don’t want to hear because Nipsey called him a snitch. ”
“Prayers for Lauren,” shared a third. “Hopefully she gets some sense of peace with this.”
Holder was also found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 15.