Eric R. Holder, the 32-year-old man charged with first-degree murder for the March 2019 killing of California rapper Nipsey Hussle, has been found guilty by a Los Angeles jury. The verdict was finally rendered yesterday after the trial was delayed after an attack Holder suffered last week at the hands of other inmates in an L.A. jail holding cell.
“We told you that Mr. Holder Jr. did shoot Mr. Asghedom,” said defense attorney Aaron Jansen during closing arguments last week, asking jurors to consider lesser charges. “We told you it was voluntary manslaughter and that he acted in a heat of passion. And we told you what that heat of passion that he acted on consisted of — it consisted of being called publicly a snitch by someone as famous as Nipsey Hussle, and we believe that is what the evidence showed.”
Holder and Hussle (born Airmiess Joseph Asghedom) reportedly knew each other for years and were both members of the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips gang. Defense attorney Aaron Jansen never denied that Holder shot the rapper, but he also asked jurors to consider the circumstances that led up to their fatal confrontation.
But Los Angeles District Attorney John McKinney contended that Holder’s encounter with Asghedom was not some chance encounter where the shooter acted impulsively. Instead, based on eyewitness accounts and videotape, the two men met in the parking lot outside his store, The Marathon, where they had an exchange and parted ways. And per the evidence, Holder would return later that day to gun down Asghedom in the street.
“We have a step-by-step methodically carried out a plan to return to that parking lot and kill. It’s not done in the heat of passion, in fact, it’s done 10 minutes after the conversation, in fact it’s done after he shakes Nipsey Hussle’s hand,” he said.
However, the jury eventually determined Holder was guilty of two charges of attempted voluntary manslaughter in lieu of the pair of attempted murder charges he faced.
“I am deeply disappointed in the first-degree murder verdict,” Jansen said in a statement to CNN. “It was always going to be a tough given the high profile circumstances surrounding the case. We are grateful that the jury agreed with us, in part, that the case was overcharged and acquitted Mr. Holder, Jr. of the two attempted murder charges.”
Neither the family of Asghedom nor his longtime partner, Lauren London, has given any official comment yet on the verdict. Holder faces up to life in prison, and his sentencing is currently scheduled for September 15, but Holder’s legal team says it plans to appeal.