Rapper Nipsey Hussle was executed in a hail of bullets that severed his spine, punctured his lungs three times and pierced his liver, a Los Angeles court heard Wednesday.
‘It was a devastating attack ….a very personal attack,’ Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the jury of nine women and three men in his opening statement at the trial of aspiring rapper Eric Holder, 32 – the man accused of using two guns to shoot Hussle at least 10 times in March 2019.
Calling the rising music star’s killing a ‘premeditated and deliberate’ murder, McKinney said Hussle was ‘shot from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head,’ after accusing fellow gang-member Holder of being a ‘snitch.’
Just before firing, he added, Holder told Hussle. ‘You’re through,’ and when the first shot hit him, the Grammy-winning hip hopper yelled, ‘You got me.’
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was killed by ’10, possibly 11 shots,’ prosecutors said in court Wednesday
Eric Holder, the suspect in the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle is seen in Los Angeles County Superior Court Wednesday. Holder is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack outside Hussle’s The Marathon clothing store
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the jury of nine women and three men that the star’s killing was a ‘premeditated and deliberate’ murder
Holder – who grew up in tough south LA where both he and Hussle were recruited by the Rollin’ 60s gang, also known as the Neighborhood Crips, is charged with one count of murder, two of attempted murder, two of assault with a firearm and one of possession of a firearm by a felon.
He has pleaded not guilty.
On Wednesday at criminal court in downtown LA, heavily tattooed Holder wore a dark suit, open white shirt and white sneakers as he sat next to his defense team.
Hussle rose to fame in 2005 with the success of several mixtapes that caught the eyes of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Drake and countless artists who paid tribute to the rapper. He was awarded two Grammys after his death.
He was a father of two, leaving behind daughter Emani, 13 and son Kross, 5 – from his relationships with Tanisha Foster and Lauren London, respectively.
Holder shot his friend after a conversation about him ‘snitching,’ prosecutors said
His estate was appraised at $4.1million after his death.
McKinney told the court that Hussle, 33 – whose real name was Ermias Asghedom – was talking with friends outside his clothing store, Marathon, on the afternoon of Sunday March 31, 2019, when Holder showed up in a car driven by a girlfriend Bryannita Nicholson, 32.
Holder – who was known in the neighborhood by his nickname, ‘Sh*tty Cuz’ – shook hands with the Racks in the Middle rapper and others in the group gathered there at a strip mall at Slausen Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.
Then, said McKinney, the conversation turned to the subject of ‘snitching.’
‘Nipsey was telling Mr. Holder that there was word on the street about you snitching.’
McKinney explained that in gang culture, snitching is a very serious offense. ‘It’s a very volatile subject if a gang member is considered a snitch. It’s not not like snitching on your little brother or sister.’
After the snitching conversation, Holder took off with Nicholson in her car, but asked her to drive around the block and park in an alley behind the strip mall.
Holder put on a red shirt, then went back to where Hussle and his friends were still outside talking, said McKinney and in the view of several cameras mounted in the strip mall, said ‘You’re through’ to Hussle and started firing with a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun in one hand and a revolver in the other.
Hit by the first fusillade, Nipsey, managed to call out ‘You got me’ before falling to the ground, his spine severed. He was hit by 10, possibly 11 shots, the court heard.
Holder is seen running with a gun in hand in view of several cameras mounted in the strip mall
Holder fled the scene and ran back to his friend’s car, on the way he was captured on camera still holding both guns, said McKinney
Judge H. Clay Jacke interrupted Jansen’s opening statement, calling both sides’ attorneys for a conference before sending the jury out for lunch
Holder fled the scene and ran back to Nicholson’s car, and on the way was caught on security camera still holding both guns, said McKinney.
He ordered Nicholson: ‘Drive before I slap you.’ She took him back to Long Beach where he was living at the time.
Just two days later, Holder was arrested, added McKinney. ‘He was still wearing the same clothes as he was wearing at the time of the shooting.’
The attempted murder and assault with a firearm charges stem from Holder allegedly also shooting 56 year-old Kerry Latham and Sharmi Villnueva, 44, – both friends of Hussle – during the attack.
Latham, who had just been released from prison after serving 25 years for murder, was hit in the back and is now in a wheelchair, said McKinney. Villnueva was much luckier. The bullet hit his belt and bounce off.
In his opening statement, Holder’s defense attorney, Aaron Jansen, conceded that his client shot Hussle, telling the jury, ‘Eric Holder shot and Killed Nipsey Hussle.’
But, he said that this was a case of a crime committed ‘in the heat of passion.’
Judge H. Clay Jacke interrupted Jansen’s opening statement, calling both sides’ attorneys for a conference before sending the jury out for lunch.