By ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors on Wednesday convicted a 32-year-old man of first-degree murder in the fatal 2019 shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle.
The Los Angeles County jury also found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter for shootings that struck other men at the scene. Prosecutors had sought two counts of attempted murder. Holder was also convicted of two counts of assault with a firearm against the same men.
Holder, wearing a blue suit and face mask, stood in the small courtroom next to his attorney as the verdict was read. He had no visible reaction.
A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching the verdict. Most of their deliberations took place on Friday, and they quickly reached their unanimous decision on Wednesday, reconvening briefly after a four-day break.
Typos on the verdict form forced jurors to briefly return to the deliberation room to correct and sign them while lawyers, reporters and others waited in the courtroom. No family or friends of Hussle were in the room when the verdict was read.
Holder could be sentenced to life in prison when he is sentenced on September 15.
The verdict ends a legal saga that has lasted more than three years and a trial often delayed due to the pandemic.
Holder and Hussle had known each other for years — they had grown up in the same South Los Angeles street gang — when a chance encounter outside the rapper’s LA clothing store led to the shooting and his death.
The evidence against Holder was overwhelming, from eyewitnesses to local business surveillance cameras that filmed his arrival, the shooting and his departure.
His attorney didn’t even deny he was the shooter, but urged jurors to find him guilty on the lesser charge of intentional homicide.
The shooting follows a conversation the two men had about rumors that Holder acted as an informant for authorities. Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, said being publicly accused of being a “snitch” by someone as prominent as Hussle brought a “heat of passion” to Holder that made him found not guilty of first degree murder.
“It’s a provocation that stirs up rage and powerful emotion,” Jansen told jurors on Thursday.
Assistant District Attorney John McKinney argued during the trial that Holder and all of the other participants in the conversation leading up to Hussle’s death were so quiet that the ‘snitching’ conversation could not have been the primary motive. , and that Holder must have had some envy or hatred for Fighting.
McKinney told jurors the nine minutes between the conversation and the shooting allowed more time than necessary for the murder to be premeditated, a requirement for first-degree murder.
The jury apparently agreed.
Hussle, whose legal name is Ermias Asghedom, died aged 33. He had just released his major label debut album, which earned him his first Grammy nomination, when he was shot.
He was a much-loved figure in Los Angeles, especially in the South Los Angeles area where he grew up and remained after gaining fame, buying property, and opening businesses.
“He wanted to change the neighborhood,” McKinney said in his closing argument. “He kept the same friends. And the neighborhood loved him. They called him Neighborhood Nip.
Hussle was mourned at a memorial at the arena then known as Staples Center, and celebrated at a Grammy performance that included DJ Khaled and John Legend.
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