Jury Wednesday finds Eric Holder guilty of the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle
Holder shot and killed 33-year-old Ermias Asghedom, aka ‘Nipsey Hussle’, outside the rapper’s Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles on March 31, 2019
Jury of nine women and three men decided Eric Ronald Holder Jr. ‘acted with premeditation’ when he opened fire on the artiste with a firearm in each hand
Holder a member of the Crips gang, faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole at sentencing, scheduled for Sept. 15
The jury also found Holder guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting Hussle’s two male companions, Kerry Lathan and Shermi Cervinta Villanueva
Lathan, who was standing across from Hussle, was shot in the back and was paralyzed from his injuries, Villanueva was grazed by a bullet but was not seriously injured
Initially Holder was charged with attempted-murder for shooting Lathan and Villanueva, but jurors found him guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter
Eric Holder Jr, the man who shot and killed Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle, has been convicted of first-degree murder. The Los Angeles jury found Eric Holder guilty Wednesday.
Holder, 32, had also been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder because two bystanders were hit by gunfire. But the jury found him guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter instead.
The jury deliberated about five and a half hours before coming back with a unanimous verdict on Wednesday morning.
Holder stood quietly as the foreperson read the verdict in front of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke. He faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
The jury also found Holder guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting two other male victims, Kerry Lathan and Shermi Cervinta Villanueva, as they stood with Hussle outside the rapper’s Marathon clothing store on March 31, 2019.
Holder was also convicted of possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon and the jury found true allegations that he personally used a firearm and caused great bodily harm and death.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys argued over the final interaction between Holder and Hussle, who grew up in the same neighborhood.
Holder’s public defender Aaron Jansen said his client shot Hussle in the heat of passion after ‘Hussle accused his client of being a snitch.’
The jury of 12, nine women and three men decided Eric Ronald Holder Jr. acted with premeditation when he opened fire on the artiste with a black semiautomatic in one hand and a silver revolver in the other during an afternoon ambush at a strip mall parking lot.
Having hot Hussle, the gunman fired more than 10 shots at the group standing with the musician. 33-year-old Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was killed.
Holder Jr. was initially charged with murder for shooting Lathan and Villanueva, but jurors found him guilty of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Lathan, who was standing across from Hussle, was shot in the back and was paralyzed from his injuries. Villanueva was grazed by a bullet and was not seriously injured.
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney argued the shooting was premeditated.
The prosecutor said Hussle never accused Holder of being a snitch and was actually trying to help Holder to clear his name.
A key witness, Bryannita Nicholson, said she saw Holder load a semi-automatic weapon with bullets while he was in her car. Nicholson, who had an intimate relationship with Holder, testified he had instructed her to park her car in an alleyway while he got out. ****He allegedly walked up to Hussle, 33, while he was speaking to a group of men and opened fire with an automatic handgun, hitting him 11 times and injuring two other people. Video shows Holder kicking Hussle’s head while he was on the ground bleeding.
Video played during the trial showed Holder walking back to the Marathon store parking lot, where he approached and shot Hustle 11 times.
Before leaving the scene, Holder kicked the beloved rapper in the head, a move that was “personal,” McKinney told jurors.
A fourth man who was with the group during the shooting, Evan McKenzie, ran from the scene. During the trial, a $500,000 warrant was issued against McKenzie, who failed to show up to court to testify under subpoena.
While Nicholson did not witness the shooting, she said she heard gunshots. Moments later, Holder ran back to her car and he told her to shut up and drive out of the area.
Before she peeled away from the alleyway, Nicholson said, she saw Holder put two weapons — a semi-automatic and a handgun — into a bag.
Witness Herman Douglas testified he knew both Holder and Hussle since they were all former members of the South Los Angeles Rollin 60s Crips street gang.
He said when Holder initially approached Hussle 10 minutes before the shooting, Holder didn’t seem angry or agitated.
According to Douglas, Hussle was actually trying to help Holder by telling him that people in the neighborhood were saying he had “paperwork,” meaning Holder was somehow involved in a case and should clear his name.
While Douglas testified Holder left the conversation shaking hands with Hussle, Holder’s attorney said his client walked away consumed with anger, causing him to come back 10 minutes later and shoot Hussle in the heat of passion.
Although Jansen admitted in his opening remarks that his client did shoot Hussle, 33, but denied that it was premeditated.
“This is a case of heat of passion,” Jansen told jurors. Hussle, he said, “made an accusation against Mr. Holder that he was a snitch.”
McKinney told jurors during his closing argument that Holder had plenty of time to turn around and walk away, but instead ambushed the beloved rapper and shot and injured two other men.
“The evidence showed he went over there, willing to kill everyone in that space,” McKinney said.
“Nipsey was clearly the target but [Holder] was willing to kill everyone or chase them away.”
Holder will be back in court for sentencing on September 15.