- The murder trial of murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle began this week in Los Angeles.
- A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that talk of “snooping” led to the fatal shooting.
- Eric R. Holder faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder.
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A Los Angeles prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that Eric R. Holder — who is on trial in the fatal shooting of Nipsey Hussle — charged the rapper’s murder in 2019 after a brief conversation between the two men over allegations of ” Spitzes” had premeditated.
The much-publicized trial began this week with opening arguments on Wednesday after nearly two weeks of jury selection and a pandemic-related delay.
Holder, 32, faces one first-degree murder and two first-degree attempted murders in the shooting that killed Hussle and injured two other men. The owner faces a life sentence if convicted.
Assistant District Attorney John McKinney used his opening statement Wednesday to describe the sequence of events that led up to Hussle’s May 2019 death outside his South Los Angeles clothing store, according to The Associated Press.
A native of South LA, Ermias Asghedom, Hussle used his fame to revitalize his hometown at the time of his death. Prosecutors said Hussle and Holder grew up in the same neighborhood and, since both were members of the same gang, the Rollin ’60s, knew each other.
McKinney told jurors that before the shooting the two men had a brief, casual conversation in which Hussle Holder said there were rumors the latter was a “snitch” and that he should “clean it up,” according to The AP. The prosecutor described the brief discussion as a “cool chat,” in which Hussle said Holder said he overheard Holder speaking to police about members of the Rollin ’60s.
The allegation, McKinney said, “got Eric Holder to the point where he wanted to go back to the parking lot and kill Nipsey Hussle,” according to The AP.
Minutes later, Holder returned to the same parking lot with two guns and fired multiple shots at Hussle, prosecutors allege. The rapper was hit 11 times, according to officials, and two other men were also hit. Police arrested Holder two days later after a manhunt, and a grand jury indicted Holder two months after his arrest.
Nipsey Hussle. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
McKinney said Wednesday there was “no doubt” that Holder intended to kill Hussle before the shooting, The AP reported.
“He clearly thought about what he was going to do before he did it,” McKinney said in court.
Jurors were shown Wednesday video of the aftermath of the shooting, showing several people attempting to revive Hussle, the outlet reported. McKinney also showed the court photos and video of the shooting, with Holder running off in a red shirt and headscarf with a semi-automatic weapon and a revolver in hand, according to The AP.
Multiple eyewitnesses who knew both Hussle and Holder have previously told police and a grand jury that Holder approached Hussle and fatally shot him. Hussle was 33 years old at the time of his death and was survived by a young son and daughter.
The defendant’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, plans to argue that Hussle’s murder was not premeditated. The attorney has also said the other two men injured in the shooting were not intended targets, making the attempted murder charge overblown. The AP reported that the attorney is also likely to emphasize Holder’s mental health issues.
The death of the Grammy Award-winning rapper sparked mass mourning in Los Angeles and around the world, with several athletes, musicians and politicians paying tribute to Hussle.
The process is expected to take about two more weeks, according to The AP.