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The jury found a 32-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle in 2019.
The Los Angeles County jury also found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter instead of two counts of attempted murder, as prosecutors had searched for two other men who were shot. In the scene.
Holder, dressed in a blue suit and face mask, stood in the small courtroom next to his attorney as the verdict was read. He had no visible reaction.
Jurors deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching a verdict.
The verdict ends a legal saga that has lasted more than three years and a trial that was often delayed due to the pandemic.
Holder and Hussle had known each other for years, growing up as members of the same South Los Angeles street gang, when a chance encounter outside the rapper’s clothing store in Los Angeles led to his shooting and death.
The evidence against Holder was overwhelming, from eyewitnesses to local business surveillance cameras that captured his arrival, the shooting and his departure.
His attorney didn’t even deny that he was the shooter, but urged the jury to convict him of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
The shooting followed a conversation the two men had about rumors that Holder had been acting as an informant for authorities. Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, said being publicly accused of being a “snitch” by someone as prominent as Hussle sparked a “heat of passion” in Holder that made him not guilty of first-degree murder.
“This is a provocation that arouses anger and powerful emotions,” Jansen told the jury Thursday.
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney argued during the trial that Holder and everyone else in the conversation that preceded Hussle’s death were so calm that the “snitch” conversation could not have been the primary motive, and that Holder must have had any previous envy or hatred for hustle
McKinney told jurors that the nine minutes between the conversation and the shooting provided more than enough time for the murder to be premeditated, a requirement for first-degree murder.Hussle, whose legal name is Ermias Asghedom, died at age 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 much-loved figure in Los Angeles, especially in the South Los Angeles area, where he grew up and remained after gaining fame, buying property, and opening businesses.
“She wanted to change the neighborhood,” McKinney said in his closing argument. “He kept the same friends. And the neighborhood loved him. They called it Neighborhood Nip.”
Hussle was mourned at a memorial at the stadium then known as Staples Center, and celebrated at a Grammy Awards performance that included D.J. Khaled and John Legend.