Man Charged With Killing Nipsey Hussle Pleads Not Guilty

April 4, 2019 Updated: April 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES—The man charged with killing rapper Nipsey Hussle was ordered held on $5 million bail after pleading not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges on April 4.

Eric Holder, 29, making his first court appearance after Sunday’s shooting and subsequent two-day manhunt, spoke only to say “yeah” to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan’s questions.

His attorney, Christopher Darden, did not dispute the bail amount, which the prosecution requested. Darden declined comment after the hearing.

Holder is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack outside Hussle’s The Marathon clothing store on Sunday that left the rapper dead and two other men wounded.

Eric Holder and Nipsey Hussle
(L): Suspect Eric Holder. (Los Angeles Police Department); Rapper Nipsey Hussle. (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Warner Music)

No additional details about motive were released during Thursday’s hearing.

Darden, who gained nationwide fame as part of the prosecution team at O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, argued before the hearing against allowing media outlets to shoot photos and video in the courtroom, saying that the prosecution has not established with certainty that they have the right person, and publicizing his image would interfere with Holder getting a fair trial.

“The issue of identity is still in question,” Darden said.

Eric Holder's attorney Christopher Darden
Eric Holder, the suspect in the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle is seen with his attorney, Christopher Darden, front, in Los Angeles County Superior court on April 4, 2019. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney argued that identity will not be an issue in the case, and said that Holder’s photo had already been widely spread during the hunt for him.

Sullivan ruled that the cameras could remain.

Holder and Hussle, who knew each other, had several conversations throughout the day Sunday before Holder eventually returned with a handgun and shot Hussle, authorities allege.

 rapper Nipsey Hussle
The rapper Nipsey Hussle watches an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks in Oakland, Calif., on March 29, 2018. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

If convicted, Holder faces life in prison.In 2012 he pleaded no contest to possession of a loaded firearm and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years’ probation. The case filed Thursday includes a charge that he was a felon in possession of a gun during the attack on Hussle.

He was ordered to return to court for another hearing May 10.

Holder fled the scene in a car driven by a woman who has since been interviewed by police and released, police Lt. Chris Ramirez said.

Hussle, 33, was engaged to actress Lauren London, with whom he had a 2-year-old son. He had another daughter from a previous relationship.

Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London
Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London arrive at the Warner Music Group Pre-Grammy Celebration at Nomad Hotel Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2019. (Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

He was a beloved figure in the community that he was seeking to rebuild starting with his clothing store, among his fellow entertainers, and with public officials who praised his philanthropy and advocacy.

Hussle had success in hip-hop’s inner circles for 10 years through his coveted mixtapes, then last year broke big with his major-label debut album, “Victory Lap,” which was nominated for a Grammy.

The California State Senate adjourned in his honor on Thursday.

Congresswoman Karen Bass said she planned to honor Hussle on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I will be heading to the House Floor next week to formally enter Nipsey Hussle’s contributions to South Los Angeles into the Congressional Record where it will be a part of United States history forever,” Bass tweeted.

By Andrew Dalton

RECOMMENDED
TOP VIDEOS