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Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s Killer Convicted of First-Degree Murder
By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw, Contributing Writer
Published July 6, 2022

Eric Holder listens during his murder trial. (Frederick M. Brown/Daily Mail.com via AP, Pool)

On their second day of deliberation, a Los Angeles County jury convicted Eric Holder Jr., 32, of first-degree murder of beloved Grammy-award winning rapper and entrepreneur Ermias Asghedom, professionally known as Nipsey Hussle.

Holder faces life in prison, with his sentencing scheduled for September 15. The 12-person jury was only an hour into their second day of deliberation on July 6 when they announced they had reached a verdict. Holder was also convicted on two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm, and one count of possessing a firearm by a felon.

Holder fatally shot Hussle outside his Marathon clothing store in South Los Angeles near the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard on March 31, 2019. He was arrested two days after the shooting and charged with Hussle’s murder and the attempted murder of Kerry Lathan, 56, and his nephew, Shermi Cervonta Villanueva, 44, both of whom were wounded but survived. The case against Holder hinged on whether the killing of Hussle was an act of premeditation or a crime of passion.

Nipsey Hussle (Instagram)

Witnesses testified that on the afternoon of the killing, Hussle warned Holder that there was gossip in the community that he was “snitching” and working with the police; facts, if truthful, could have placed Holder in danger with gang members. Hussle and Holder were affiliated with the local gang – the Rollin’ 60s Crips.

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Los Angeles prosecutor John McKinney presented surveillance video that showed Holder in a brief conversation with Hussle, leaving the plaza and returning a short time later, shooting Hussle at least 10 times and kicking him in the head. The coroner determined that Hussle died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, and the manner of death was homicide. Because the bullet “transected” his spine, had he survived, the coroner testified that Hussle would have been paralyzed for the rest of his life

At trial, prosecutors described Holder as an aspiring rapper who felt disrespected by Hussle during their brief encounter. Prosecutors called Holder’s actions “coldblooded” and “calculated.” Public defender Aaron Jansen acknowledged that Holder killed Hussle, but argued that he acted in “the heat of passion” after Hussle accused him of being a “snitch,” a defensive argument rejected by the jury. Holder did not testify during the trial.

In a statement on July 6, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called Hussle “a beloved member of our community who had used his platform to advocate for gang violence prevention.”

“Today we secured accountability for the loss of his life and will continue to work alongside many others to realize a brighter future. We know there is no way to replace what was taken from his family, friends, and fans who loved him, but we pray this verdict will move them one step closer to finding peace,” Gascón said.

Family members of Nipsey Hussle were not present for the verdict and, at the time of this publication, have not released a statement. Hussle is survived by his two children, Emani and Kross Ermias; his long-time love, Lauren London; his brother, Sam (Blacc Sam); his sister, Samantha; his father, Dawit; and his mother, Angelique.

Hussle was awarded two posthumous Grammy awards in 2020 for Best Rap Performance for “Racks in the Middle,” featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy, and Best Rap/Sung Performance for his appearance on DJ Khaled’s “Higher” featuring John Legend.

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Nipsey Hussle, affectionately called the community ambassador, preached Black business ownership and empowerment, and reinvested his earnings in South Los Angeles, the place where he grew up, loved, and called home.

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