A Los Angeles jury has convicted the gunman who killed rapper Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom. The Grammy-winning artist was killed March 31, 2019, in front of The Marathon Clothing store he founded. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
July 6 (UPI) -- The gunman accused of shooting hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle at least 10 times was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder.
A Los Angeles jury convicted Eric R. Holder Jr., a former acquaintance of Hussle, in the rapper's death.
Holder and Hussle knew each other as children and were both members of the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips gang, according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John McKinney.
Hussle, who was born Ermias Asghedom, was gunned down in front of his The Marathon Clothing store in south Los Angeles on March 31, 2019, one day before he was set to meet with police to discuss gang violence.
McKinney said during the trial Holder was angry with Hussle, who had called him a "snitch" and tweeted "having strong enemies is a blessing" just hours before Holder returned to the store with a semiautomatic revolver. "Snitching" in the gang world is a serious offense, the testimony said.
Witnesses said Holder gunned down Hussle as he signed autographs outside his store and injured two bystanders. McKinney told the jury Holder also kicked the rapper in the head before fleeing.
Last week, McKinney accused Holder of premeditated murder during closing arguments.
"We have a step-by-step methodically carried out plan to return to that parking lot and kill. It's not done in the heat of passion, in fact, it's done 10 minutes after the conversation. In fact, it's done after he shakes Nipsey Hussle's hand," McKinney said.
Holder's attorney argued the attack was in a fit of "heated passion" following a conversation with the rapper with no time to "cool off."
Hussle, 33, was a Grammy Award winner, entrepreneur and father of two. He founded the record label All Money In, which debuted with the release of his fifth official mixtape The Marathon.
Holder, an aspiring rapper, was arrested two days after the shooting and pleaded not guilty. He was also found guilty Wednesday of attempted voluntary manslaughter for the two surviving victims.
Holder is scheduled to be sentenced in September and could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.