Jurors convicted a man of first-degree murder in the death of rapper Nipsey Hussle in a shooting that also wounded two others in South Los Angeles
Holder, 32, was found guilty in the, whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom. He was also convicted of two counts each of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm involving two other people who were injured in the March 31, 2019, shooting in front of the rapper’s Crenshaw District store called The Marathon, along with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. Jurors also found true allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on one of the victims.
An exact motive for the shooting was never established during Holder’s trial.
But in closing arguments last Thursday, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney urged jurors to convict Holder of first-degree murder for a “personal” attack on Hussle outside the musician’s clothing store near Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, calling the killing “cold-blooded” and “calculated.”
McKinney said Holder had “quite a bit of time premeditation and deliberation” before returning to the parking lot, where Hussle was shot 10 to 11 times. The prosecutor described the two men as both being artists from the same neighborhood, but where Hussle had found commercial success, Holder had not.
“I submit to you that the motive for killing Nipsey Hussle had little to do with the conversation they had…There’s pre-existing jealousy,” McKinney said, drawing an objection from Holder’s attorney. “Saying, ‘You’re through,’ before shooting him and shooting him a number of times…kicking him in the head, that’s personal. What makes this murder first-degree is premeditation and deliberation.”
Defense attorney Aaron Jansen conceded his client “shot and killed” the rapper by firing with one gun in each hand at the start of the trial, but contended it happened in the “heat of passion.” Jansen called the case against his client “overcharged from the beginning,” and said the correct charge against Holder should be voluntary manslaughter – an option Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke told jurors earlier they could consider.
The jurors heard eight days of testimony during the trial, which was delayed for a day due to an. Jansen said his client had lost consciousness after being attacked in a jail holding cell by other inmates with a razor as he was waiting to be taken to court.
The case was handed over to the jury for deliberation on Friday, and resumed Wednesday after the long holiday weekend. Holder is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15.