Nipsey Hussle murder suspect Eric Holder shot rapper from 'bottom of his feet to the top of his head'
Warning: Graphic content
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was murdered with several bullets that severed his spine, punctured his lungs three times and pierced his liver, a Los Angeles court was told on Wednesday, June 15. "It was a devastating attack ….a very personal attack," Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the jury in his opening statement at the trial of 32-year-old Eric Holder. Holder is accused of using two guns to shoot Hussle at least 10 times in March 2019. The jury comprised nine women and three men.
Hussle was shot dead moments after meeting with fans just outside his LA clothing store. Hussle was due to meet with the police in order to discuss the ever-rampant gang violence. He had also tweeted, "Having strong enemies is a blessing," a few moments before he was shot. Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times in a brazen attack and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Hussle was a father of two -- daughter Emani, 13 and son Kross, five. He had his children with Tanisha Foster and Lauren London, respectively. After his slaying, his estate was appraised at $4.1million.
McKinney said that Hussle's murder was "premeditated and deliberate". Hussle was "shot from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head," McKinney said. He added that Holder said just before firing, "You're through." When the first bullet hit Hussle, the Grammy-winning rapper yelled, "You got me." Holder had allegedly kicked the rapper in the head before killing him.
Holder, who grew up in tough south LA, was an aspiring rapper who was recruited by the Rollin' 60s gang, also known as the Neighborhood Crips, along with Hussle. He is charged with one count of murder, two of attempted murder, two of assault with a firearm and one of possession of a firearm by a felon. He has pleaded not guilty.
Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, denied that the murder was premeditated. "He is charged with premeditated, first degree murder," Jansen told the jury. "It should be voluntary manslaughter." Jansen said that Holder was "so inflamed and enraged" at Hussle publicly accusing him of "snitching" that he "returned and shot" the rapper.
"He did not have time to cool off," Jansen said. "It was not premeditated." Jansen also said that Holder "did not intend to hurt" Kerry Latham or Shermi Villnueva, who have been identified as the men who were with Hussle when he was shot. "It was not his intention to kill Mr. Latham or Mr. Villnueva. That never entered his mind. He did not know either of them," Jansen said. He called the shooting a crime committed "in the heat of passion."
What Nipsey Hussle's friend Herman ‘Cowboy’ Douglas said
Hussle's friend Herman ‘Cowboy’ Douglas, 49, was inside the Marathon clothing store when he heard gunshots. Douglas recalled trying to “plug” one of the bullet holes with his bare hands as he prayed for his friend. He rushed outside to find his friend dying. "He was fighting and trying to breathe till the ambulance came," Douglas told the court. "He didn’t say anything, he just kept trying to raise up."
Douglas claimed that in an earlier conversation, Hussle told him, "Hey we heard there’s some paperwork on you that you need to take care of." "Paperwork" meant that Holder’s name could have come up in a police report or court transcript, Douglas said. When McKinney questioned Douglas, he said that Holder’s reaction was to say, "…..n——-s are hating on me”, which meant "talking s__t about me." Douglas said 'no' when asked whether he sensed "any animosity or bad blood" between Hussle and Holder.
When Jansen cross-examined Douglas, he said that in the past, a "gangbanger accused of snitching could". He added that in the present day, penalties on snitching are less harsh. "Me getting on the stand right now would be considered snitching," he admitted.
Kerry Latham, who was a victim of the shooting and is now in a wheelchair now, was reluctant to testify against another gangbanger. "He’s going to come to court, but he might not be very co-operative," McKinney explained. "You are not supposed to talk to the police, even if you’re the victim of a crime," he said of the gang world. McKinney said that Shermi Villnueva is also reluctant about testifying. The bullet had just hit his belt and bounced off.
Nipsey Hussle's last moments
McKinney told the court that Hussle, 33, at the time of his death, was talking with friends outside his clothing store, Marathon, on the afternoon of Sunday, March 31, 2019. This is where Holder showed up in a car, driven by a girlfriend, 32-year-old Bryannita Nicholson. Nicknamed 'Sh*tty Cuz' in his neighborhood, Holder met Hussle and his gang who were all gathered at strip mall at Slausen Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. The conversation eventually turned to the subject of "snitching", McKinney said.
"Nipsey was telling Mr. Holder that there was word on the street about you snitching," said McKinney. "It's a very volatile subject if a gang member is considered a snitch. It's not not like snitching on your little brother or sister." Holder drove away with Nicholson following the conversation but asked her to park in an alley behind the strip mall. He then came back to where Hussle and his friends were still talking and shot him dead. Hussle fell to the ground after the first shot. He was hit by 10, possibly 11 shots, the court was told.
Holder then ran back to Nicholson's car and was caught by security camera holding his two guns in both hands. "Drive before I slap you," he told Nicholson, who subsequently took him back to Long Beach, where he was living. He was arrested just two days later. McKinney said that at the time of his arrest, Holder was wearing the same clothes he wore at the time of the murder.