The Verdict In The Murder Of Nipsey Hussle Explained

In 2019, rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Two others were also injured in the incident. After several delays, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the trial of Eric Holder Jr. began three years later. Holder Jr. was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the case. Following a short period of deliberation and discussion by the jury a verdict was reached: murder in the first degree, and in February 2023, Holder Jr. 's prison sentence was revealed, CBS News reports.

Born Ermias Asghedom, the "Hussle and Motivate" rapper who performed as Nipsey Hussle, was shot in front of his south Los Angeles clothing store. Hussle, who was acquainted with Holder Jr., had allegedly confronted the defendant about being a snitch. Angered, Holder Jr. reportedly left the scene and returned a short time later with two guns, after which point, Holder Jr. shot and killed the Grammy Award-winning rapper. He also injured two bystanders. Charged with murder and attempted murder, Holder Jr. pleaded not guilty.

Holder Jr. was convicted of voluntary manslaughter

Identified by witnesses, Eric Holder Jr.'s defense admitted their client fired the gun on the day that Nipsey Hussle died and that the two other men were injured. The question Holder Jr.'s defense raised at the trial was whether first-degree murder was an appropriate charge given their client's state of mind. According to defense attorneys the defendant was triggered and under emotional stress. Therefore, the killing of Hussle was not a premeditated act but a crime of passion, instead, NBC News reports.

The jury agreed that Holder Jr. never intended to shoot the other two men who were injured in the incident, and convicted Holder Jr. on lesser charges for shooting the bystanders: two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. Meanwhile, the prosecution in the case maintained Holder Jr.'s crimes were premeditated, and therefore murder charges were warranted. Hussle was reportedly shot as many as 11 times and before fleeing, Holder Jr. reportedly kicked the musician in the head.

Holder Jr. received a 60-year prison sentence

In addition to the voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm conviction, Eric Holder Jr. was found guilty on first-degree murder charges for shooting and killing Nipsey Hussle, as well as assault with a firearm and firearm possession by a felon, as CBS News explains. For those convictions, in February 2023, Holder Jr. was given a 60-year prison sentence. The first-degree murder alone could have landed Holder Jr. a 25-year-to-life term in prison.

Announced by a judge, Holder Jr.'s sentencing hearing was delayed as the defense called for a new hearing, and a reduced conviction for Hussle's death to remain consistent with Holder Jr.'s other two voluntary manslaughter convictions. Also according to CBS News, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said at Holder Jr.'s trial, "[The defendant, Holder Jr.] clearly thought about what he was going to do before he did it." Nipsey Hussle was 33 years old when he died. Holder Jr. was 32 at the time of his sentencing.