Eric Holder, the man charged with fatally shooting Nipsey Hussle in March 2019, has a new lawyer and what appears to be a new legal strategy.
Deputy Public Defender Aaron Jansen is now representing Holder and claims his client has mental health issues.
“He does have a significant mental health history,” Jansen told the New York Daily News after a June 29 hearing in Los Angeles. “One of the things affecting him [in March 2019] was that his mother had just passed away. He was pretty despondent.”
Related Story: Nipsey Hussle to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Holder was initially represented by Christopher Darden, a former prosecutor in O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial. But Darden withdrew from Holder’s case in May 2019, citing death threats from “angry mobs.” A public defender took over, but later stepped down after being appointed to serve as a state judge. Jansen was then brought in to handle Holder’s defense.
“A lot of the work was done by my predecessor,” Jansen told the Daily News. “Hopefully, by the end of the year, maybe early December, we can go to trial.”
The case has faced a series of delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holder, 31, is accused of gunning down Hussle on March 31, 2019, outside the rapper’s Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles.
Prosecutors said Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was signing autographs and talking to friends when he was approached by Holder. The two men had a four-minute conversation before the shooting.
“Apparently, the conversation had something to do with [Hussle] telling Mr. Holder that word on the street was that Mr. Holder was snitching,” Deputy Dist. Atty. John McKinney told a grand jury in 2019.
Hussle was shot at least ten times. The LAPD said Holder fled the scene after the shooting, and was arrested in nearby Bellflower following a two-day manhunt.
The alleged gunman is charged with one count of murder, two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
He pleaded not guilty, and remains behind bars unless he can post $6.5 million bail. He asked for the amount to be reduced, but the request was denied.