The individual who was found guilty of shooting and killing Nipsey Hussle, a hip-hop artist who was nominated for a Grammy, was given a sentence that ranges from sixty years to life in prison.
Eric R. Holder Jr., who was previously found guilty for the 2019 first-degree murder of 33-year-old Nipsey Hussle, was given the sentence on Wednesday after hearing testimony about the immense loss of the hip-hop star and neighborhood leader. The sentence was handed down by Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke II, who had earlier handed down the guilty verdict.
During the course of the court hearings, it was revealed that Holder had struggled with mental illness and abuse throughout his entire life.
“I am very mindful of what was presented as to Mr. Holder’s mental health”
“I am also mindful of the devastation caused to the victims and their families. I believe this sentence balances the two.“
Ermias Asghedom, better known by his stage name Nipsey Hussle, was gunned down by Eric Holder Jr. in 2019 in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, outside of the apparel store that Hussle had created and named the Marathon.
In July of 2021, a jury reached a verdict of guilty.
The verdict follows a trial that lasted one month, during which jurors also found Holder guilty of two charges of attempted voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a handgun for the gunfire that hit two other men at the site. The sentence was handed down after the trial concluded.
The other two victims made a full recovery from their wounds. For the murder, Judge Jacke gave Holder a sentence of 25 years to life, and then added another 25 years for the firearm sentencing enhancement. In addition, he added another ten years to Holder’s sentence for the charges including assaults with firearms. The judge took into consideration the roughly four years that Holder had already served in prison.
Holder, who was clothed in orange jail clothes, sat blankly throughout the proceedings and did not respond when the punishment was announced. He remained in this position throughout the whole hearing. He just spoke to reassure the court that he was aware of the situation and had it correctly understood.
Prosecutors said that Eric Holder and Nipsey Hussle had a brief talk after they ran into each other on a Sunday afternoon outside of the clothes store. This conversation took place before the sentence was handed down. They claim that Holder left the scene and returned around ten minutes later to shoot Hussle at least ten times.
Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, a close friend of Hussle’s who testified during the trial and was with Hussle on the day he was killed, told the judge that both he and the South Los Angeles community, where Hussle was a business leader, were profoundly affected by the tremendous loss. Douglas was with Hussle on the day he was killed.
Nipsey was my friend, he was like a son, and he was like a dad, said Douglas on his close relationship with the late rapper. Our community is going through a difficult time right now because we have lost everything that we have worked for. The error of one man and the behavior of that one individual wreaked havoc on an entire neighborhood.
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Douglas stated that Hussle’s store, as well as other nearby businesses that he owned and supported, have since shuttered their doors as a result of his passing. A friend of Hussle who testified before the judge stated that he was interested in learning the reason behind the murder: It makes no difference to me what you give this person. That has nothing to do with the time. Simply said, I need to know the reason why. The entire globe is curious as to the reason. Why would someone act in such a way?
Public lawyer Aaron Jansen argued for his client’s sentence to be reduced from life in prison to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole and rehabilitation. He explained that his client had a difficult childhood that included being physically abused and living in poverty.
According to Jansen, Holder entered adulthood and had “a dreadful spiral into mental disease,” which resulted in “years of anguish and struggle” and featured excruciating auditory hallucinations. Jansen said this happened after Holder reached adulthood.
He also said life behind bars is “going to be brutal [and] is going to be short. He’s already received numerous death threats.” Jansen also read a letter from Holder’s father, Eric Holder Sr. apologizing to Hussle’s family and to the other victims.
“I know there are not enough words that would fill the void, the pain, the deep sorrow that they feel,” the letter read. “I question myself every day asking if I as a father did everything to help Eric Jr. stabilize his mental health.”
Both Hussle and Holder had aspirations to become rappers when they were children and spent their formative years in the South Los Angeles neighborhood. Holder was never able to attain the same level of success as Hussle, who went on to become a revered figure in the community and a well-known face across the country.
Jansen admitted during the trial that Holder had shot Hussle and asked the jury to find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The evidence against Holder was so overwhelming — including eyewitnesses as well as surveillance cameras from local businesses that captured his arrival, the shooting, and his departure — that Jansen was forced to admit that Holder was the shooter.
The jury reached its verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree after only six hours of deliberation.