Nipsey Hussle murder trial is now underway with jury hearing opening arguments.
It’s been more than three years since California rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed, and his murder trial is finally set to begin with the jury impaneled and an alternate jury panel also selected.
On Wednesday, ABC 7 Los Angeles confirmed that the lone murder accused, Eric Holder, is set to stand trial for the murder of the rapper.
The 12-member jury will decide the fate of Holder, who is charged with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm.
The jury was officially sworn in on Monday, and the judge has also taken the further step of naming six pre-selected alternate jurors who will be on stand-by should the original jury panel need to be replaced or to avoid delays in the trial.
The prosecution and the defense are set to begin opening arguments today (June 15).
Nipsey Hussle was killed on March 31, 2019, by Holder, who shot and killed the rapper while he was outside of his Los Angeles clothing store in the community he grew up in. The clothing store was launched as part of his efforts to help the community. According to District Attorney John McKinney, Holder used two firearms to kill Hussle after they argued over claims of “snitching” outside of the Hyde Park area store.
Nipsey Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Joseph Asghedom, received 11 shots about the body. The Grand Jury indictment had said that Holder “personally used a handgun and caused great bodily injury and death.”
On his arraignment, Holder had pleaded not guilty to killing the rapper.
Holder’s trial has already seen significant delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first trial date was set for April 2020, but that was disrupted due to the pandemic and also Holder’s own refusal to leave his cell out of fear of contracting the virus and dying.
There were also other problems faced by Holder himself, which included his previous attorney, Christopher Darden, recusing himself from representing Holder due to alleged death threats made to his family by fans of the late rapper.
The original judge in the case has also since retired.
In the meantime, Holder is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted for the murder of the rapper.