LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday sentenced the man who shot and killed Nipsey Huss. The hip-hop star and neighborhood leader was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison after hearing testimony about the enormous cost of the murder and the lifelong mental illness, abuse and struggle of his shooter.
Superior Court Judge H. Clay Jacke II found Eric R. Holder Jr., 33, a 33-year-old Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist guilty of out-of-clothes 2019 first-degree murder. Established Store Hustle, MarathonBoth grew up in similar circumstances in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.
“I’m very careful about Mr. Holder’s mental health,” Jack said. “I also remember the devastation to the victims and their families. I believe this sentence equates the two.
After a month-long trial, jurors in July charged Holder with attempted voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a firearm for the shooting.
Jack sentenced Holder to 25 years to life for murder, an additional 25 for aggravated assault and 10 for assault with a firearm. He set up several penal additions and ordered others to run concurrently. He also gave Holder credit for nearly four years of work since the shooting.
Holder, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, looked straight ahead throughout the proceedings, did not react as the sentence was read, and only said he understood when asked by the judge.
In an impact statement before sentencing, Herman “Cowboy” Douglas, Huslin’s close friend who stood and testified with him when he was killed, told the judge that the killing was a great loss for him. Hassell was a business leader and an inspiration both personally and to the South Los Angeles community.
“Nipsey is my friend, he’s like a son, he’s like a father,” said Douglas, who took off his black cowboy hat and wore a sweatshirt with Husley’s picture on the front as he entered the courtroom. “Now our society, we’ve lost everything, everything we’ve worked for. One man’s mistake, one man’s act, has disrupted the entire society.
Douglas said Husley’s store and the surrounding businesses he owned and supported were closed, and that meant “nothing for the homies.”
Douglas told the judge, “I don’t care what they give him. It’s not about time. I want to know why. The world wants to know why. Why would anyone do that?”
Actor Lauren London, Husley’s partner and mother of his two young children, did not attend any part of the trial, nor did any of his relatives, who gave similar impact statements.
Asking for a reduced sentence of 25 years to life, which would allow some chance for release and rehabilitation, Johnson described Holder’s childhood of physical abuse and poverty.
As he reached adulthood, Holder said he experienced “a terrifying descent into mental illness” that led to “years of agony and struggle”, including painful auditory hallucinations that resisted all attempts at treatment.
During the trial he showed Holder photographs of head injuries inflicted by other inmates, saying he was targeted as Haslin’s killer and that his life behind bars would be “brutal”. It will be short. He has already received several death threats.
Johnson also read a letter sent by Holder’s father, Eric Holder Sr., apologizing to Haslin’s family and other victims.
“I know there are not enough words to fill the void, the pain, the deep sorrow they feel,” the letter reads. “Every day I ask myself if I did everything as a father to ensure Eric Jr.’s mental health.”
Husley, Ermias Askedom and legal name Holder Growing up as members and knowing each other for years Rollin’ 60s in South LA. Both are aspiring rappers. But Holder didn’t see the same success as Hussle, a local hero and a national celebrity.
A year after his death, he was mourned at a memorial in the arena called the Staples Center, and celebrated in a performance at the Grammy Awards. It includes DJ Khaled and John Legend.
The evidence against Holder was so overwhelming — from eyewitnesses to surveillance cameras from local businesses that captured his arrival, the shooting and his departure — that Johnson admitted to shooting Huss during the trial. But jurors deliberated for only six hours before returning with a verdict of first-degree murder.
As Holder was led from the courtroom Wednesday, Douglas sang “Hit the Road Jack” to him. Jack “Out!” And the deputies escorted Douglas out.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton