Trial Begins for Man Accused of Murdering Nipsey Hussle

Defendant Eric Holder listens during opening statements in his murder trial, Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles. (Frederick M. Brown/Daily via AP, Pool)

The day they spoke in a Crenshaw parking lot, Nipsey Hussle and the man who shot him to death saw their “arcs in life were bending in different directions,” a Los Angeles County prosecutor said Wednesday.

Hussle — born Ermias Asghedom — was a year removed from releasing his Grammy-nominated album “Victory Lap” and was gaining a reputation as a community hero trying to reinvest in the neighborhood where he grew up. He’d opened up his Marathon Clothing store, helped found a co-working space and ultimately purchased the plot of land he was standing on the day he was shot.

Eric Holder Jr., 33, also was an aspiring rapper, but one who was “not nearly as successful, not nearly as respected” as Hussle, Deputy Dist. Atty. John McKinney said during his opening statement in Holder’s murder trial.

Despite coming from the same neighborhood and growing up in the same gang, the notorious Rollin 60s set of the Crips, the two men had “little in common,” McKinney said. Until their lives became inextricably linked, when Holder produced two handguns and took the ascendant rapper’s life in March 2019.

More than three years after that deadly confrontation, Holder appeared in court Wednesday for the start of his trial. If convicted as charged of murder and attempted murder, he faces a de facto life sentence.

Late Wednesday morning, L.A. County Deputy Public Defender Aaron Jansen admitted during his opening statement that his client had killed Hussle. But he said the attack was a crime of passion, rather than premeditated murder.

Wearing white sneakers and a navy suit that couldn’t entirely hide his neck tattoos, Holder kept his eyes forward and betrayed little emotion as his lawyer casually acknowledged he’d killed a man.

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SOURCE: LA Times, James Queally