What to Know
- A transcript of the grand jury proceeding in the killing of rapper and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle was released Thursday
- The transcript includes details provided by witnesses about Nipsey Hussle's March 31 encounter with his accused killer
- It also has statements from the woman who said she drove the suspect to and from the murder scene
Rapper Nipsey Hussle accused the man now charged with his murder of being a snitch minutes before the man allegedly used two handguns to kill him and wound two other men, according to a transcript of a grand jury hearing unsealed in Los Angeles Thursday.
Details about the deadly March 31 encounter outside Nipsey's Marathon clothing store with suspect Eric Holder were included in the transcripts. A judge in downtown Los Angeles overruled objections from prosecutors and defense attorneys and unsealed the transcript.
Witnesses told the grand jurors they heard fragments of the conversation between Hussle, 33, and Eric Holder, who’s been charged with murder in the death of Ermias Asghedom (Nipsey Hussle) and the attempted murders of two other men shot during the killing.
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"Nipsey was like, 'Man, you know, they got some paperwork on you, you know. I haven’t read it, you know. Like you my bro, you know. Like maybe you need to take care of that, you know,’” one witness told the grand jury in early May.
The witness explained that Nipsey’s words were a warning to Holder but said he didn’t know what was behind it. When asked whether Nipsey identified specifically what Holder supposedly snitched about, the witness did not provide details, according to the documents.
Police have said the shooting in front of businesses Hussle owned was the result of a personal dispute between the men. During the grand jury hearing that spanned several days prosecutors drew out a significant amount of testimony that showed Holder was a gang member and had been seen carrying two handguns similar to those used in the killing: a silver revolver and a black semi-automatic.
Hussle was shot at least 10 times, with rounds piercing his lungs and severing his spinal cord, according to testimony from a medical examiner who reviewed the autopsy. Police found eight expended casings from a .40 pistol at the scene, and six bullets were pulled from Hussle’s body.
Another witness said Holder uttered the words to Hussle, "You’re through,” during the shooting, and said he heard Hussle try to say a name after he’d been fatally wounded.
The woman who said she drove Holder to and from the murder scene testified anonymously and with an immunity agreement. She said she had no idea Holder was a gang member or that he was responsible for the shooting -- even after he ran to her car carrying the two handguns seconds after she heard gunshots.
"I know like if he got hurt or something happened," she said.
Later, after she said she and her mother had watched news broadcasts that showed her car, she tried to talk to LAPD officers at the 77th Street station but was turned-away by an officer at the front desk.
"When we got to the station, the police officer in the little circle thing where you go in at, like the reception part, I was explaining to them that my car was on the news and it’s been involved in a murder and everything, and I was trying to, you know, talk to someone about it," she said. “One of the police officers is like, ‘Well don’t worry about it,’ you know, ‘Don’t listen to the news,’ you know. And then my mom said, ‘Well, she needs to talk to somebody.’ But he said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ so we just left,” the woman said.
LA Superior Court Judge Robert Perry said he believed Holder could receive a fair trial even after the public was able to review the evidence presented by prosecutors during the secret grand jury hearing.
"Everything in the transcript is of an incriminating nature," LA County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told reporters outside court.
McKinney said his concerns about the release had less to do with the public learning of the evidence in the case, rather, with the possibility the nature of the information could discourage witnesses from participating, and unsuccessfully argued that certain portions of the transcript should remain sealed.
Holder, 29, has pleaded not guilty. He also faces two counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting two other men who were at the scene of the killing.
Holder and Hussle were at one time close friends, associates told NBCLA. Police said Holder and Hussle had several conversations outside the store on the day of the murder before Holder returned and began shooting.