A trial over the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle began in Los Angeles on June 15, more than three years after the killing. Eric R. Holder Jr. is facing one count of murder and one of possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm. (The latter charges relate to two bystanders who were injured in the alleged shooting.) During opening statements, Holder’s attorney conceded that Holder shot and killed Hussle, born Airmiess Asghedom, per Rolling Stone. Aaron Jansen, a public defender, focused on the severity of the charges, claiming to the jury that the killing was not premeditated, but happened in “the heat of passion.” Meanwhile, L.A. County deputy district attorney John McKinney described the killing in detail, emphasizing that Holder used two guns, shot Hussle ten times, and kicked Hussle’s head after the shooting — all captured on video played back to the jury. “I think you will find by that kick to the head at the end that it was a very personal attack,” McKinney said.
Holder — described by prosecutors as an aspiring rapper himself — shot and killed Hussle, an ascendant on the national scene, on March 31, 2019. The shooting took place outside Hussle’s store, Marathon Clothing, after a short conversation. Prosecutors have claimed the shooting centered on Hussle and Holder’s ties to the Rollin’ 60s Crips, and that Hussle accused Holder of “snitching.” Jansen attempted to cite an image from the movie Scarface while discussing the severity of snitching, to an objection from McKinney. Jansen has also emphasized that Holder has a history of mental-health issues, even telling the jury he checked into a treatment facility shortly before his arrest days after the killing, the Los Angeles Times reported. Holder has been in custody since and faces life in prison for the charges.