- The murder trial for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle kicked off in Los Angeles this week.
- A prosecutor on Wednesday told jurors that a conversation on “snitching” led to the fatal shooting.
- Eric R. Holder faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
A Los Angeles prosecutor on Wednesday told jurors that Eric R. Holder — who is on trial for the fatal shooting of Nipsey Hussle — pre-mediated the rapper’s 2019 killing after a short conversation between the two men regarding accusations of “snitching.”
The highly-publicized trial kicked off this week with opening arguments on Wednesday following nearly two weeks of jury selection and a pandemic-related delay.
Holder, 32, faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting that left Hussle dead and two other men injured. Holder faces possible life in prison if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney used his opening statement on Wednesday to describe the sequence of events that led to Hussle’s May 2019 death outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles, according to The Associated Press.
Hussle, a South LA native who was born Ermias Asghedom, was using his notoriety to help revitalize his hometown community at the time of his death. Prosecutors said Hussle and Holder grew up in the same neighborhood and knew each other from both being members of the same gang, the Rollin’ 60s.
McKinney told jurors that prior to the shooting, the two men had a brief, chance conversation in which Hussle told Holder there were rumors that the latter was a “snitch” and he should “clear that up,” according to The AP. The district attorney described the short discussion as a “cool conversation” in which Hussle told Holder that he’d heard Holder was talking to police about members of the Rollin’ 60s.
The allegation, McKinney said, “moved Eric Holder to a point of wanting to return 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 and two other men were also struck, according to officials. Police arrested Holder two days later following a manhunt and a grand jury indicted Holder two months after his capture.
McKinney on Wednesday said there was “no doubt” that Holder planned to kill Hussle ahead of the shooting, The AP reported.
“He clearly thought about what he was going to do before he did it,” McKinney said in court.
Jurors on Wednesday were shown video of the aftermath of the shooting in which multiple people tried to resuscitate Hussle, the outlet reported. McKinney also showed the courtroom photos and video of the shooting, with Holder running away afterward in a red shirt and bandana with a semiautomatic gun and revolver in hand, according to The AP.
Several 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 at the time of his death and left behind a young son and daughter.
The defendant’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, plans to argue that Hussle’s killing was not premeditated. The lawyer has also said that the other two men injured in the shooting were not intended targets, making the attempted murder charges excessive. The AP reported that the attorney is likely to emphasize Holder’s mental health issues as well.
The Grammy-award-winning rapper’s death prompted mass displays of mourning in Los Angeles and across the world, with several athletes, musicians, and politicians memorializing Hussle.
The trial is expected to last about two more weeks, according to The AP.