Nipsey H
Nipsey Hussle - Photo courtesy of Kathy Hutchins on Shutterstock

Sentencing is set Wednesday for the man convicted of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle outside the musician’s South Los Angeles clothing store.

Eric Holder Jr., 33, is facing a potential life prison term with the possibility of parole.

He was convicted July 6 of one count each of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm involving two other men who were injured in the March 31, 2019, shooting.

Jurors also found true allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on one of the two surviving victims.

In December, Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke rejected a defense motion to reduce Holder’s conviction to second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter and turned down the defense’s bid for a new trial.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told jurors during the trial that the killing was “cold-blooded” and “calculated,” saying Holder had “quite a bit of time for premeditation and deliberation” before returning to the parking lot near Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard where the rapper was shot 10 to 11 times.

“Saying, `You’re through,’ before shooting him and shooting him a number of times … kicking him in the head, that’s personal … What makes this murder first-degree is premeditation and deliberation,” the prosecutor said.

Holder’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, conceded at the start of the trial that his client had “shot and killed” the rapper, whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom. But he said the crime in which his client fired with one gun in each hand occurred in the “heat of passion.”

Holder had “no cooling-off period” after being “called publicly a snitch by someone as famous as Nipsey Hussle” nine minutes and 10 seconds earlier, the defense lawyer told jurors.

Holder’s attorney also contended that the case was “overcharged from the beginning,” and that the correct charge against Holder involving the rapper’s slaying should have been voluntary manslaughter — an option the judge told jurors they could consider.

Jurors heard eight days of testimony during the trial, which was delayed for a day following what Holder’s attorney said was an attack on Holder in jail.

Jansen said his client lost consciousness after being attacked in a jail holding cell with other inmates while waiting to be taken to court. He subsequently underwent an MRI and required three staples to the back of his head, also suffering a swollen left eye and swelling on the left side of his face, according to the attorney.

Holder did not testify in his own defense.

He has remained behind bars since his arrest two days after the shooting. His attorney told jurors that he surrendered himself at a mental health clinic in Bellflower.

After Hussle’s death, thousands of people were on hand in April 2019 for a service in his honor, with singer Stevie Wonder and rapper Snoop Dogg among those paying tribute to him.

In a letter that was read during the service, former President Barack Obama wrote, “While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going.”

The rapper-entrepreneur was posthumously honored with two Grammy Awards in 2020 for best rap performance for “Racks in the Middle” and for best rap/sung performance for “Higher.”

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