LIVE UPDATE: Nipsey Hussle's Killer Eric Holder Jr. CONVICTED of FIRST DEGREE MURDER!
More than three years after the fatal shooting of the Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose 2019 killing in front of the local clothing store he owned scarred the South Los Angeles neighborhood he had devoted his adult life to championing, a jury on Wednesday found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in the case, closing a painful chapter in recent hip-hop history. At trial, prosecutors described the gunman as an embittered acquaintance who had belonged to the same street gang as Hussle but felt disrespected by him during a brief parking-lot run-in. That Mr. Holder pulled the trigger was not in dispute in court, with his own public defender and multiple eyewitnesses identifying him in testimony and security footage as the assailant who fired toward Hussle with two handguns, hitting the rapper at least 10 times before kicking him in the head. But Mr. Holder’s legal team had argued that the killing was not premeditated and instead occurred in the “heat of passion,” about nine minutes after a conversation in which Hussle invoked neighborhood rumors that Mr. Holder had cooperated with law enforcement, or snitched, a serious offense in the gang world, and urged him to clear things up. After meeting for less than an hour on a second day of deliberations, the decision by the jury to find Mr. Holder guilty of first-degree murder indicated that they agreed with the Los Angeles county prosecutors that Mr. Holder had made the decision to kill Hussle as he returned to a car after their initial talk, loaded a gun, took a few bites of fries and then marched back through the parking lot to confront the rapper. Mr. Holder, 32, could face life in prison. He will be sentenced on Sept. 15. He was also found guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, stemming from the two bystanders who were wounded in the shooting, lesser charges than the attempted murder counts prosecutors had brought. A lawyer for Mr. Holder argued that the case was overcharged and that his client had no specific intention of harming either of the other two men, both of whom were strangers to him, when he attacked Hussle. In addition, Mr. Holder was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. In court, Mr. Holder stared forward, unflinching. He wore a dark navy suit and white sneakers. There was no sound in the courtroom as the verdict was announced — no reaction from the half-full gallery.
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