In 2019, rising star and Grammy-nominated rap artist Nipsy Hussle was gunned down in front of a clothing store he owned in South Los Angeles, California.
The man who was convicted of that murder, 33-year-old Eric Holder Jr., was sentenced on Wednesday to serve 60 years to life in prison for that and other related crimes, the Daily Caller reported.
Holder, of no relation to the former U.S. attorney general, had been convicted last year of first-degree murder plus two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a firearm in relation to two other men who were shot and wounded alongside Hussle.
60 years to life
The Associated Press reported that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke II gave Holder a sentence of 25 years to life for the murder plus another 25 years to life for a firearms sentencing enhancement and an additional 10 years for assault with a firearm, for a total of at least 60 years behind bars, though some of that sentence can be served concurrently and Holder was granted credit for the more than three years he has already been imprisoned.
Holder’s defense attorney had requested a sentence of just 25 years to life with a possibility for early release due to childhood trauma and abuse that resulted in mental illness.
There was, however, no denying that Holder was guilty of murdering Hussle — real name Ermias Asghedom — as the entire incident had been caught on multiple surveillance cameras and was observed by several witnesses, and the defense attorney acknowledged all of that even as he argued that the shooting hadn’t been premeditated and only warranted a voluntary manslaughter conviction.
“I am very mindful of what was presented as to Mr. Holder’s mental health,” Judge Jacke said during the sentencing hearing. “I am also mindful of the devastation caused to the victims and their families. I believe this sentence balances the two.”
Accused of “snitching,” assaulted by other inmates
USA Today reported in June 2022 on the trial of Holder for the murder of Hussle, a former “gangbanger” who previously ran in the same crew as Holder but who, according to community members and prosecutors, had since changed his ways upon becoming a successful rapper and was attempting to revitalize and create wealth in his neighborhood.
“This man was different,” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the jury of Hussle. “He wanted to change the neighborhood. He kept the same friends. And the neighborhood loved him. They called him Neighborhood Nip.”
Much of the trial revolved around allegations that Hussle had warned Holder just before the shooting that some people in the neighborhood believed Holder was “snitching” and was an informant for the police, and the shooting did occur about 10 minutes after that conversation happened.
The trial had been temporarily delayed, per a report from TMZ at the time, after Holder had been jumped and assaulted by two other inmates while waiting to be transported to court, and the defendant was later observed with facial bruising and swelling and a stapled-shut gash on the back of his head presumably caused by a razor.
While that assault on Holder was not mentioned during the trial, it was raised by the defense attorney during the sentencing hearing as he warned that Holder’s imprisonment was “going to be brutal. It’s going to be short. He’s already received numerous death threats,” according to the AP.
The devastating impact on the local community
As for the impact of Hussle’s death on the local community, the AP noted that the rapper’s close friend Herman “Cowboy” Douglas testified that “Nipsey was my friend, he was like a son, he was like a dad,” and that “Our community right now, we lost everything, everything we worked for. One man’s mistake, one man’s action, messed up a whole community.”
As for the murderer, Douglas told the judge, “I don’t care what you give this guy. It ain’t about the time. I just want to know why. The world wants to know why. Why someone would do that?”