CNS – Los Angeles In the trial of the man accused of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle and injuring two other men in South Los Angeles more than three years ago, the jury’s deliberations began on Friday.
The panel will be back in the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday to continue its review of the case against Eric Ronald Holder Jr. after spending nearly five hours there on Friday.
A prosecutor urged jurors to find Holder guilty of first-degree murder for a “personal” attack on Hussle outside the musician’s clothes store at Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard during final arguments on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a defense lawyer contended that the government had overcharged his client, who he claimed had acted “rashly and impulsively” after being accused of snitching.
For the murder of the 33-year-old rapper, whose true name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom, on March 31, 2019, Holder, 32, is accused.
Along with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a firearm resulting in injuries to two other people, and one count of gun possession by a felon, the defendant is also accused of two other crimes. The accusations include that he physically caused grievous bodily harm and that he purposefully discharged a pistol.
Aaron Jansen, the defence lawyer, admitted during the opening statements of the trial that his client “shot and murdered” the rapper, but claimed the act was committed in “heat of passion.” His client used a revolver in each hand.
“This was an act of impulse and rashness,” Jansen told the jury during his final remarks on Thursday.
After being “named publicly a snitch by someone as prominent as Nipsey Hussle” nine minutes and ten seconds earlier, the defense attorney said his client had “no cooling-off period.”
This is a provocation that incites anger and strong feelings, according to Jansen.
Additionally, Holder’s counsel argued that the case had “been over-charged from the outset” and that the proper charge in the rapper’s death should have been voluntary manslaughter, which Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke had earlier advised the jury to consider.
According to deputy district attorney John McKinney, Holder had “quite a bit of time for premeditation and deliberation” before returning to the parking lot near Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, where the rapper was shot 10 to 11 times. Holder was “cold-blooded” and “calculated” in his killing, McKinney said.
The defense’s claim that he had been provoked was “nonsense,” the prosecution insisted, adding that the defendant “is not possessed by wrath.”
The prosecutor claimed that Hussle was “a successful artist from the same neighborhood as Eric Holder, who is an unsuccessful artist.”
“I contend that the discussion they had had little to do with the decision to assassinate Nipsey Hussle. There is already some jealousy “The defense lawyer quickly objected to what McKinney said.
“Kicking him in the head, that’s personal, and saying “You’re through” before shooting him multiple times The premeditation and deliberate nature of this murder makes it a first-degree murder “explained the prosecution.
Hussle joined a gang as a youngster, changed over time, and “wanted to change the neighborhood,” but he remained approachable without an entourage, security, or fanfare while standing outside his business when he was shot on “just another beautiful Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles” by someone he had just shaken hands with moments earlier.
Although the attempted murder charges were a “closer question,” the deputy district attorney said he thought the jury would ultimately decide that these were “not mere accidental shootings.”
“Nipsey cannot be brought back. But you can make things right. Please be fair “Just before the case was turned over to the jury, McKinney implored the panel.
Regarding Nipsey Hussle’s successful music career, Holder’s attorney claimed that there was “no hatred” and “no jealousy” towards Hussle. He also told the jury that Hussle’s alleged refusal to provide any information when questioned about the alleged snitching was “serious” and made public by someone of the rapper’s stature.
It’s not victim-blaming, it’s not an explanation, and it’s not a defense, according to Jansen.
In addition, the defense attorney claimed that his client, who was “just living his life in Long Beach” and was no longer a member of a gang, had been falsely accused of trying to kill the two other men who were hurt in the shooting. “He had no reason to kill these other two individuals,” the defense attorney claimed.
Eight days of testimony were heard by the jury during the trial, which was postponed on Tuesday after what Holder’s lawyers claimed was an assault on Holder in jail.
When being held in a jail holding cell with other detainees while awaiting transport to court on Tuesday morning, Jansen told reporters outside of court on Wednesday that his client was attacked and lost consciousness. According to the lawyer, he later got an MRI and required three staples to the back of his head. He also had a swollen left eye and swelling on the left side of his face.
During the testimony of a medical examiner who said that the singer had eleven gunshot wounds from his head to one of his feet, the jury was shown autopsy images.
The rapper’s death was caused by “several gunshot wounds,” according to Dr. Lawrence Nguyen, who reviewed the findings of the autopsy conducted by another medical examiner who is unable to testify.
Nguyen told the jury deliberating the case in downtown Los Angeles that he thought there had been between 10 and 11 bullets.
According to the medical examiner, one of the rapper’s wounds, which was caused by a bullet that entered through the rapper’s right belly, destroyed his spinal cord and would have probably resulted in lower extremity paralysis if he had survived the shooting.
During the defense’s argument, private eye Robert Freeman warned the jury that calling someone a snitch may put them in danger of being harmed or killed. He pointed out that making a snitching claim against someone in public, when other people may hear it, would be more risky, and that anything spoken by a high-ranking gang member is “nearly gold” on the streets.
Freeman, a former LAPD officer who acknowledged being let go while still on probation, also explained to the jury that firing two weapons, one in each hand as Holder is claimed to have used during the killing, would reduce the precision of the rounds. He pointed out that the optimal grip for a rifle to shoot accurately is two hands.
Holder was not asked to give a testimony in support of himself.
Thousands of people attended Hussle’s memorial service in April 2019 after his passing, and artists like Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg paid tribute to him.
Barack Obama, the former president, wrote the following in a letter that was read during the service: “While most people see only gangs, violence, and hopelessness in the Crenshaw community where he grew up, Nipsey saw opportunity. He perceived a ray of hope. He encountered a group of people who, in spite of their shortcomings, taught him to never give up.”
In 2020, two Grammy Awards were given posthumously to the rapper-entrepreneur for best rap performance for “Racks in the Middle” and best rap/sung performance for “Higher.”