The man who shot dead Grammy-winning rapper Nipsey Hussle on a Los Angeles street in 2019 was jailed for at least 60 years Wednesday.
Eric Holder had not denied killing Hussle — a fast-rising star whose death sent shockwaves through the music world — but his lawyers argued it was an impulsive crime that took place in the “heat of passion.”
But a jury last year found Holder had acted with premeditation as he fired at Hussle at least 10 times following a dispute between the two men over claims the assailant was “snitching” to the police.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke sentenced Holder to a minimum of 25 years for the killing, with an additional 25 years because a gun was used in the crime.
Holder was given another 10 years for shooting and wounding two other men who were nearby.
The violent killing of Hussle, a former gang member, in front of a clothing store he owned triggered widespread grief in his native Los Angeles and among his superstar peers, who hailed his musical talents and community activism.
Raised in the city’s Crenshaw district, Hussle, who was 33 when he died, had transformed the block he used to hustle on into a retail, job-creating hub for his Marathon Clothing company.
But he remained linked to the gang-ridden world he grew up in.
Holder, a 32-year-old gang member, and Hussle were both members of the same “Rollin 60s” Crips faction.
During the trial, prosecutor John McKinney said Hussle had told Holder there were rumors Holder had been “snitching,” before Holder left the parking lot where the two were talking.
When he returned a short time later, Holder “pulls out not one but two guns and starts shooting” in an “explosion of violence.”
The killing was captured on video.
In his closing argument, McKinney called the killing “cold-blooded” and “calculated,” saying Holder had “quite a bit of time for premeditation and deliberation.”
But Holder’s attorney told jurors the killing was “an act of impulse and rashness” which should have been charged as manslaughter.
Aaron Jansen said his client, who he said suffered from mental illness, had already received death threats and that “his life in prison is going to be hell for as long as it lasts.”
The judge said he would recommend Holder be housed in a facility that can address his mental health needs.
‘He saw hope’
The month after his 2019 killing, thousands of people gathered for a service in Hussle’s honor, with Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg among those paying tribute, and former President Barack Obama penning a letter that was read during the service.
“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential,” wrote Obama.
“He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going.”
Hussle — real name Ermias Asghedom — was posthumously honored with two Grammy Awards in 2020 for best rap performance for Racks in the Middle and best rap/sung performance for Higher.
In August, on what would have been his 37th birthday, he was granted a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Source: Voice of America