A jury determined that Eric Holder Jr.'s killing of the late rapper was premeditated.
Eric Holder Jr., the man who fatally shot rapper Nipsey Hussle, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday. The verdict comes over three years after Hussle’s killing rocked the world of hip-hop and the city of Los Angeles.
The jury’s decision did not concern whether Holder was the killer, but rather if Holder’s act was premeditated — security footage captured Holder shooting Hussle multiple times before kicking him in the head, and his own defense attorney claimed that he was the assailant.
"We told you that Mr. Holder Jr. did shoot Mr. Asghedom," defense attorney Aaron Jansen told the jury during closing arguments last week. "We told you it was voluntary manslaughter and that he acted in a heat of passion. And we told you what that heat of passion that he acted on consisted of — it consisted of being called publicly a snitch by someone as famous as Nipsey Hussle, and we believe that is what the evidence showed."
The jury, though, was unconvinced, siding with the prosecutors’ account, which argued that Holder had decided to kill Hussle 10 minutes after the two had a conversation — in which the 33-year-old rapper allegedly referred to Holder snitching to law enforcement — in the parking lot of Hussle’s clothing store in South Los Angeles. Holder returned to a car and minutes later went back and killed Hussle.
Hussle’s murder in 2019 was among the most shocking deaths in hip-hop in recent memory. The father of two was considered a champion of the Crenshaw neighborhood he was from and campaigned against gang violence. Hussle’s critically acclaimed 2018 album Victory Lap was nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys in 2019, and the rapper won two posthumous trophies the next year.
"I'm just sad, I miss my friend,” Hussle’s friend, Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, said after the verdict. “He's supposed to be here, he's supposed to still be here. He was the underdog that made it.”
Holder — who was also found guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter from two bystanders that were wounded in the shooting and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon — may face life in prison. He will be sentenced on Sept. 15.