LOS ANGELES – The man accused of murdering beloved rapper Nipsey Hussle allegedly yelled “You are through” as he squeezed off 10 to 11 shots in what prosecutors described Wednesday as a cold-blooded hit.
More than three years after Hussle’s death, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney kicked off the trial of Eric Holder by detailing the killing in chilling detail.
“He shot from left and right hand, retreated, shot some more, retreated and went back in and shot even more,” McKinney said. “The only thing he said while looking at Nipsey… ‘You are through!”‘ McKinney said.
Hussle and his accused killer grew up in the same neighborhood and belonged to the same street gang — the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips.
But that’s where the similarities ended, the prosecutor said, telling jurors the case was about respect and “snitching.”
On March 31, 2019, Hussle was at his store, Marathon Clothing, in LA talking to a group of men when Holder, 32, walked up and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon in his left hand and a revolver in his right, McKinney said.
It was “a very personal attack,” McKinney told the jury.
Video shows Holder kicking the rapper’s head while he was on the ground bleeding.
“He was shot literally from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head,” McKinney said. “The bullet perforated Nipsey’s lungs, one bullet transected his spine and one bullet went through the liver. It was a devastating attack.”
He played videos of the shooting, and another in which a man desperately tried to provide CPR to Hussle’s lifeless body.
Holder’s defense attorney admitted in his opening statement that his client did shoot Hussle, 33, but denied that it was premeditated.
“This is a case of heat of passion,” Public Defender Aaron Jansen told jurors. Hussle, he said, “made an accusation against Mr. Holder that he was a snitch.”
“That so inflamed Mr. Holder that without thinking, nine minutes later, Mr. Holder shot Mr. Asghedom,” Jansen added, using Hussle’s legal name. “He did not have time to cool off. He was so enraged by this response that he acted without premeditation.”
Holder is also facing attempted murder charges over the two men he shot at next to Hussle.
Kerry Lathan, 56, suffered major injuries from a shot to the back and is now wheelchair-bound in a convalescent home. The other man, Shermi Cervinta Villanueva, was only grazed by a bullet.
Jansen said Holder should have been charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of murder and insisted his client did not intend to kill the other two men because he did not know them.
Before shooting Hussle and the other men, Holder had a brief conversation with the rapper but left in a vehicle driven by a woman he was seeing. He quickly told the woman to go back to the area and park at an alley before he returned to shoot the rapper.
Hussle’s family was not in the Los Angeles courthouse.
Holder was arrested days after the shooting. He pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges and has been jailed since.