A jury returned a verdict Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of shooting rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed outside his Los Angeles clothing store more than three years ago, NBC Los Angeles reports.
The verdict is expected to be read at 10:30 a.m. PDT in downtown Los Angeles, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Hussle, a hip-hop artist and father of two born Ermias Asghedom, was shot and killed at age 33 on March 31, 2019, in the parking lot outside his store, known as The Marathon.
Eric R. Holder, Jr., had a conversation with Hussle and two others at the Marathon in South Los Angeles, but Holder had been angered by accusations that he was a snitch, the assistant district attorney said. Los Angeles, John McKinney, during the trial.
Holder returned to the store later that day with a gun, McKinney said, where multiple witnesses said they saw him walk up to Hussle and open fire on the rapper.
Holder and Hussle grew up together and were both members of the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips gang, according to McKinney.
Holder was charged with one count of first-degree murder, as well as two counts of attempted first-degree murder for two other people injured in the shooting. He faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Videos and photos released during the trial showed Holder fleeing the scene while holding a semi-automatic revolver. Hussle was shot at least 10 times.
McKinney accused Holder of premeditated murder during opening statements, an allegation which Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, refuted.
Jansen told the jury that Holder attacked Hussle in a fit of “passionate passion”, reacting to the conversation before he had time to calm down. He alleged that the charges against Holder were excessive because there was no premeditated plan to kill Hussle.
Bryannita Nicholson, who described herself as being in a casual relationship with Holder at the time, said she drove him to the store before filming, according to NBC Los Angeles. According to her, the couple were eating in their car when Holder told Nicholson he would be right back and she should stay there.
She heard gunshots soon after and Holder rushed to the car, ordering her to drive, Nicholson said.
Nicholson said she was unaware of her connection to Hussle until she asked him to go to the mall.
Jansen pressed Nicholson on inaccuracies in his testimony, using the video to challenge his sequence of events and specific details, such as the color of a car on which Holder dropped a bag of fries.
Nicholson blamed the time between Hussle’s death and the trial on errors, saying she was not lying but that she had made genuine mistakes.
Closing arguments were delayed last week after Holder was attacked by “several individuals” as he waited to be transported to the Los Angeles courthouse. The back of Holder’s head was injured after being assaulted with a razor.
The case went to the jury on Thursday, just before the court took an extended break for the July 4 recess.
Hussle was a beloved member of the South Los Angeles community. His death sparked deep sadness and outrage, prompting vigils and a public funeral at Staples Center, where thousands gathered outside to pay their respects.
Hussle’s legacy includes his dedication to his former neighborhood, where he focused on community development and owned several businesses.
A former gang member, Hussle was an advocate for gun violence and was scheduled to meet with Los Angeles law enforcement to discuss programs to help end gang violence before his death.
His efforts were commemorated with tributes from fans, music industry peers and politicians following his death. Former President Barack Obama said his daughters introduced him to Hussle and he discovered Hussle’s community work after his death.
“While most people look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope,” Obama said in a letter. read at Hussle’s funeral.
The Associated Press contributed.