The man convicted of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison by a Los Angeles judge on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press and multiple news reports.
Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke II sentenced Eric R. Holder Jr., 33, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of Hussle (real name: Airmiess Joseph Asghedom) outside the Marathon, the South Central Los Angeles clothing store that the rapper had founded.
In July, jurors also convicted Holder of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a firearm, stemming from gunfire that hit two other men at the scene; those victims both survived.
According to AP, Holder, dressed in orange jail togs, stared straight ahead throughout the hearing and did not react when the sentence was read. He and Hussle grew up in the same neighborhood and had known each other for many years. Holder was not eligible for the death penalty; the sentencing had been delayed several times to enable defense attorney Aaron Jansen to argue for reducing the conviction to manslaughter or second-degree murder, which Jacke rejected in December.
Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, a close friend of Hussle’s, was standing with him when he was killed and testified during the trial.
“Nipsey was my friend, he was like a son, he was like a dad,” he said. “Our community right now, we lost everything, everything we worked for. One man’s mistake, one man’s action, messed up a whole community.
“I don’t care what you give this guy,” he continued to the judge. “It ain’t about the time. I just want to know why. The world wants to know why. Why someone would do that?”
In July, jurors went only an hour into their second day of deliberation before announcing they had reached a verdict siding with the Los Angeles Country prosecution. They rejected Holder’s attorney’s contention that a lesser charge was merited because the killing took place in the “heat of passion.”
Holder did not disavow responsibility for the shooting during the two-week trial, but his attorney, Aaron Jansen — who was even among those identifying his client in the surveillance tapes shown — argued that Holder should be convicted of a lesser charge, manslaughter, rather than murder.
Last year, Holder was attacked in prison by other inmates who reportedly punched him and cut him with a razor while he was in a holding cell.
Hussle was signing autographs outside the clothing store he owned in South Los Angeles on March 31, 2019, when Holder confronted him in a brief conversation, departed, and then returned several minutes to shoot the rapper. Hussle, who was shot 11 times, was one of three men to be injured in the assault, and the only one of the three not to survive.
Holder was captured by police two days after the murder, after the woman who drove him away from the site turned herself in and identified the shooter. Holder’s face had been captured on security cameras as well, and he was identified by multiple witnesses.
Jansen’s argument for having his client face a lesser charge hinged on the contention that, in his initial exchange with Hussle, the rapper — who, like his killer, was a member of the Rollin 60s gang — had told Holder that there was “paperwork” on him, and that Holder took this as a threat that he was considered an informant and therefore his life was in danger.
“This was not just a pleasant conversation between homies who are chopping it up,” Jansen said during closing arguments, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “This was a serious accusation… Mr. Holder Jr. took it serious, as it was. He knows the consequences of being called a snitch in this manner.”
Jansen’s argument maintained that Holder was so shaken by this accusation, he was not in his right mind when he returned and shot Hussle and the other two men.