A Los Angeles jury found gang member Eric Ronald Holder guilty on Wednesday of fatally shooting rapper Nipsey Hussle and injuring two other men outside the rapper’s clothing store in 2019.
The verdict was read just after 10:30 a.m. PT, with the jury convicting Holder of first-degree murder, two counts each of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
In a statement later in the day, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said his office had “secured accountability” for the loss of Hussle’s life.
“Nipsey Hussle was a beloved member of our community. He showed a commitment to improving schools within his neighborhood and investing in underserved communities,” Gascón said. “He also used his platform to advocate for gang violence prevention and to ensure we create thriving communities. His legacy will continue to inspire our work.”
Jurors began deliberating on Friday and continued their discussions Tuesday and Wednesday morning before reaching a verdict.
Prosecutors said 33-year-old Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, was signing autographs and talking to friends outside his Marathon Clothing store in South L.A., when he was approached by Holder and shot on March 31, 2019.
Holder fled the scene in a car driven by a woman who said she was unaware that he planned to shoot someone. The gunman was arrested in nearby Bellflower two days later.
Deputy Dist. Atty. John McKinney told the court earlier in the trial that Holder became angry when Hussle accused him of “snitching.” McKinney said Holder left the clothing store after speaking with Hussle, and returned a short time later with a gun in each hand.
“At about 3:20 that afternoon, there was an explosion of violence,” McKinney said, adding that Hussle was shot at least 10 times, “literally from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.”
Prosecutors played surveillance footage from businesses in the area.
“If you look closely, you’ll see [Holder] shoot him at one point from the left hand and the right hand,” McKinney told the court.
After the shooting, the gunman walked up and kicked Hussle in the head. “You will find from that kick to the head, it was very personal,” McKinney stated.
McKinney noted that both Hussle and Holder had previously joined a gang, but Hussle changed as he got older and “wanted to change the neighborhood.”
Hussle, a Grammy-winning rapper, left behind two children. There was an outpouring of grief in the community following his death.
Kerry Lathan was caught in the crossfire during the shooting and survived. Lathan took the stand on day 2 of the trial. He told the court he went to Hussle’s store to pick up a package of clothes from the rapper and philanthropist after being released from prison. Lathan said he had just shaken Hussle’s hand when suddenly “a lot” of gunfire rang out.
Lathan said the shooting left him with extensive injuries. He now uses a walker to get around and suffered a stroke after getting shot.
Holder’s public defender Aaron Jansen admitted during the trial that his client “shot and killed” Hussle, but said the crime occurred in the “heat of passion.” He added that a bullet “accidentally hit Mr. Lathan.”
Jansen said Holder held “no jealousy” toward Hussle over his successful music career. The attorney said his client lost control over the “snitching” accusation, which he described as a “serious” offense in some circles. The attorney argued that Holder had been over-charged and should have faced a manslaughter count instead of murder.
Holder is facing life in state prison and will be sentenced on Sept. 15.