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The man who killed Nipsey Hussle, the prophetic rapper who was investing his own money into trying to rebuild his south L.A. neighborhood, went to Hussle’s business intending to start an argument over ‘snitching’ before shooting him, prosecutors argued yesterday during the murder trial of Eric R. Holder.
And that’s exactly what Holder did on March 19, 2020, shooting Hussle ten times in front of his own clothing store, The Marathon, the prosecution told jurors. Their statements set the scene for a trial in which Holder’s defense team will try to spare him from spending life in prison. They may face an uphill climb as there is surveillance video of the killing as well as a slew of witnesses expected to testify that they saw the conversation that preceded the shooting and the act of violence itself.
From CBS News
Former gang member Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, who worked at The Marathon, said Hussle didn’t use the actual word “snitch” while overhearing the conversation. He thought Hussle was trying to give Holder some advice in a “chill” exchange. He said Holder asked Hussle if he had listened to his recent music, but he didn’t sense any animosity between both men.
“He was saying ‘I heard there was some paperwork floating around,” said Douglas, who recalled Hussle’s words to Holder. Douglas was an employee at the clothing store, cleaning the parking lot along with other duties. He viewed himself as a mentor to Hussle, saying he was like his “little brother.”
Douglas, 49, who wore a black jacket and T-shirt with Hussle’s image on both, said Hussle added that “I haven’t seen (the paperwork.) You need to take care of that.”
Another key witness expected to testify is the woman McKinney said unwittingly served as Holder’s getaway driver, Bryannita Nicholson.
Hussle’s slaying sparked a nationwide outpouring of grief and sympathy for a man considered a seminal artist of the genre and generation.
Both Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, and Holder, were members of the Rollin’ 60s, a set of the larger Crips gang that occupies a large swath of south LA. Hussle never hid or disavowed his gang affiliation in his lyrics or performances but his life saw him working to counter the many negative influences of gang life in his neighborhood. He invested in real estate and opened businesses in the same neighborhood where he grew up, rhymed messages of Black empowerment and coordinated or funded many charitable events.
He dated and had a child with actress Lauren London. His last solo project, Victory Lap, was released in 2018, but new verses and unreleased projects have popped up posthumously. A documentary about his life, directed by Ava Duvernay, is planned for release on Netflix.
Hussle was 33.