The murder trial of the man accused of killing Nipsey Hussle is nearing its conclusion with the case going to the jury.
Closing arguments ended Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, and jurors were set to begin deliberations Friday morning on the fate of accused gunman Eric Holder.
Deputy Dist. Atty. John McKinney urged jurors to convict Holder for what he described in closing arguments as a “personal” and deadly attack on Hussle, 33, outside the rapper’s Marathon Clothing store in South L.A.
McKinney said Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, was signing autographs and talking to friends, when he was approached by Holder on March 31, 2019. McKinney told jurors Holder became angry when Hussle accused him of “snitching,” and gunned down the Grammy-winning rapper and philanthropist.
Holder, 32, is charged with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, and two counts of attempted murder and assault with a firearm. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Defense attorney Aaron Jansen admitted in court that his client “shot and killed” the rapper, but said the crime occurred in the heat of “passion.” He explained to the jury that a snitching accusation is “serious” in some circles, and countered that Holder was “over-charged from the beginning.” He insisted his client should have instead faced a voluntary manslaughter count.
But prosecutor McKinney said Holder showed no mercy and the charges were appropriate. According to McKinney, 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 told the court, adding that Hussle was shot at least 10 times, “literally from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.”
Another man was caught in the crossfire and survived. He testified on day 2 of the trial and said he uses a walker to get around and suffered a stroke after the shooting.
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.”
The trial began two weeks earlier, although court was not in session on Tuesday following what Holder’s attorney said was an attack on the inmate in jail.