Downtown, Los Angeles–As courts gear up for the second week of testimony in the shooting death of Los Angeles rapper and businessman Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom) here is a recap of some of the biggest takeaways from week one.
Eric Holder Jr., Defense says he acted out a “crime of passion” in shooting Nipsey Hussle
In his opening statements, Public Defender Aaron Jansen, said that Holder in fact killed Nipsey Hussle but it was not premeditated. Holder, 32, is charged with one count of first-degree murder as well as two counts of attempted first-degree murder for injuring two other men during the shooting.
“On March 31st 2019, Eric Holder Ronald Jr. shot and killed Nipsey Hussle on Slauson and Crenshaw in front of the Marathon Clothing store,” Jansen said during opening statements.
Jansen argued that the charges against Holder were excessive, because the two other men in the shooting were not the intended targets. He also stated that it was unclear if one of the men was even injured because he refused medical treatment, as well as refused to talk to police.
Jansen’s co-counsel in the case is Public Defender Justin Clayton. Holder faces possible life in prison if convicted.
Holder’s Past Mental Health History May Be Used By The Defense
Holder’s defense might emphasize Holder’s mental health issues during the course of the trial. During opening statements, Jansen mentioned that Holder was arrested at the Telecare Mental Health facility in Bellflower, CA.
“Three days later on April 2, 2019, Eric Holder Jr. surrendered himself to Telecare, which is a mental health facility in the city of Bellflower,” Jansen told the courts.
According to their website, Telecare helps individuals with recovery who have serious mental health issues who are experiencing homelessness and have been involved with the criminal justice system. Telecare provides services to clients on a referral basis from the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health.
Getaway Driver and Others Granted Immunity For Their Testimony
The driver who drove Holder away from the crime scene and to the Marathon Clothing store the day Nipsey Hussle was killed, has been granted immunity for her testimony. During opening statements, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney shared the driver met Holder while working as a uber/lyft driver.
VLAD TV interview shown to Illustrate Nipsey Hussle’s Gang Ties By The Defense
The Defense introduced an interview Nipsey Hussle did on Vlad TV to illustrate his gang ties. Jansen also showed images from the movie “Scarface”, which showed someone bleeding and hanging by a rope, while Jansen stated the ways in which “rats” or “snitches” are viewed in gangs and organized crime.
“The criminal street gang the “Rolling 60’s” also known as “The Neighborhood Crips” is one of the largest street gangs in Los Angeles. Eric Holder Jr. was part of Rolling 60’s and so was Nipsey Hussle,” said Jansen.
Cowboy and Kerry Lathan Called To Testify In The Trial
Two men that were present around the time and during the time Nipsey Hussle was shot were called to testify. Cowboy is Nipsey Hussle’s “big homie” who Nipsey Hussle was essentially named after when he joined the Rolling 60’s. He was an employee and friend of Nipsey who was a familiar face at the Slauson and Crenshaw lot. Although he was inside at the time of the shooting, Cowboy was present during the initial conversation that Nipsey Hussle and Holder had, which he states was not confrontational on Nipsey’s behalf.
Lathan was released from prison 6 months prior to the shooting and was granted immunity due to conflict of his parole status, which led to his arrest immediately following the shooting. Despite being an eye witness to the shooting, Lathan was very particular in his approach when answering questions.
According to TMZ, Lathan was “tight-lipped” most likely due to the horrid theme of “no snitching” surrounding inner city gangs.
Nipsey Hussle’s Longtime Friend Identified in Court
A longtime friend of Nipsey Hussle who was present the day he was killed was mentioned in court during the opening statements. At the time of the shooting, Nipsey Hussle was standing between some parked cars at the Marathon lot speaking to Lathan, his nephew Shermie Villaneuva and Nipsey’s friend and rapper Rimpau, who was not injured during the shooting.
Body Camera Footage Show Blacc Sam Giving Nipsey Chest Compressions
During opening statements, District Attorney John McKinney showed video footage while detailing the shooting (the same angle released by TMZ on the Shell gas station on Crenshaw and Slauson). Body camera footage worn by LAPD capture Nipsey Hussle’s brother Samiel Asghedom on the scene giving him chest compressions prior the the ambulance arriving.
Only The Opening and Closing Statements Are Allowed To Be Filmed
Despite public concern and interest over the court proceedings, media have only been allowed to film the opening and closing statements during Holder’s trial. So far, Law and Crime network have an hour of the trial live-streamed posted online. The Los Angeles Times published an article stating the local community lacks interest in the trial which is untrue. Community members, fans and supporters of Nipsey Hussle have remained interested and concerned about the court proceedings for over three years now and it is disrespectful for The Times to print this.
Nipsey Hussle’s Family Will Not Attend Court, Focused on His Legacy With New Dispensary
In a recent sit-down interview with veteran CBSLA anchor Pat Harvey, Samiel detailed the family is focused on continuing his legacy through his various business pursuits prior to his untimely murder. This weekend, Nipsey’s family and team opened the Marathon Collective, which is a licensed cannabis dispensary in the valley. The opening comes after last months release of the “Marathon Cultivation” Documentary on Youtube, which details Nipsey’s passion for the plant, as well as his journey to gain a legal entry point into the industry.
“To be able to open a legitimate shop and to see it through is good for the whole family,” Samiel tells Harvey. “Marijuana was leading people to jail so when it started to legitimize it was a goal and we said we have to get into this legitly.”
Samiel stated he has a lawyer in court who shares information with him. So, when his grandmother and mother asks him about the court proceedings, he is able to provide them updates.
Video Credit: CBSLA, Law and Crime Network