By Andrew Dalton | Associated Press
LOS ANGELES – A judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday sentenced the man to 60 years to life for the shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Supreme Court Justice H. Clay Jacke II handed down the deferred sentence to Eric R. Holder Jr., 33, who was found guilty of the 2019 first-degree murder of the 33-year-old Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist outside the clothing store who Hussle founded, the Marathon, in the South Los Angeles neighborhood, where both men grew up in very similar circumstances.
After the month-long trial, jurors also convicted Holder in July of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a firearm for gunfire that killed two other men at the scene who survived.
Supreme Court Justice H. Clay Jacke delivered the verdict Wednesday after hearing from one of Hussle’s friends and listening to a letter from Holder’s father read in court. Holder, dressed in orange prison garb, stared straight ahead throughout the proceedings and did not react as the verdict was read.
Holder was ineligible for the death penalty. He was almost certain that he would receive a sentence that would guarantee that he would spend the rest of his life in prison, with only the details of his sentence in question.
Sentencing has been postponed in part so attorney Aaron Jansen could plead for Holder’s conviction to be reduced to manslaughter or manslaughter, which Jacke rejected in December.
Hussle, whose legal name is Ermias Asghedom, and Holder had known each other for years growing up as members of the Rollin’ 60s in South LA. Both were aspiring rappers. But Holder never found the same success as Hussle, who would become a local hero and a national celebrity.
Actor Lauren London, Hussle’s partner and the mother of his two young children, did not attend any part of the trial, nor did his relatives, and no one is expected to give victim impact statements, as is often the case at such hearings.
Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, a close friend of Hussle’s who stood by his side when he was killed and testified at the trial, told the court that the murder was a huge loss both to him personally and to the community in South Los Angeles where Hussle was. a business leader and an inspiration.
“Nipsey was my friend, he was like a son, he was like a father,” said Douglas. “Our community right now, we’ve lost everything, everything we’ve worked for. One man’s mistake, one man’s action has confused an entire community.”
Douglas told the judge, “I don’t care what you give this man. It’s not about the time. I just want to know why. The world wants to know why. Why would anyone do that?”
The evidence against Holder was so overwhelming—from eyewitnesses to local business surveillance cameras that captured his arrival, the shooting, and his departure—that his attorney admitted at trial that he shot Hussle.
But Jansen argued to jurors that the heated circumstances of the shooting meant a lesser verdict on voluntary manslaughter was deserved.
The jury returned after about six hours of deliberation with the premeditated verdict.
Jansen said afterwards that he was “deeply disappointed” in the verdict, which they wanted to appeal.
He did score a small victory for Holder by securing the attempted voluntary manslaughter convictions where prosecutors had sought convictions for attempted murder.
A year after his death, Hussle was mourned at a memorial at the arena then known as Staples Center, and celebrated at a performance at the Grammy Awards with DJ Khaled and John Legend.