The murder trial for the man who shot and killed Nipsey Hussle is underway and yesterday, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses was cross-examined by the defense. Although Eric Holder’s lawyer Deputy District Attorney Aaron Jansen can’t truly deny his client pulled the trigger — there’s plenty of security video along with multiple witnesses — the defense hinges on Holder’s insistence that the murder was not premeditated, in which case he should have been charged with voluntary manslaughter. Holder pled not guilty to first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder.
Jansen’s questioned the witness, Bryannita Nicholson, about discrepancies in her testimony on Monday, comparing her statements to her initial witness statements in 2019 and video from the crime scene. According to the Associated Press, Jansen took care not to accuse Nicholson of lying, only that she might be mistaken. It’s clear that his strategy is to create doubt about whether Holder intended to shoot the rapper when he had Nicholson park her car in a nearby alley.
Nicholson had accompanied Holder to the store, giving him a ride in her car, and said she witnessed an argument between Holder and Nipsey, after which they left, returning a few minutes later and parking in the alley instead of the store’s parking lot. Holder got out, leaving her alone, and returned after shooting Hussle, telling her to drive away. Nicholson has always maintained she had no idea that was his intention, and Jansen’s pressing on small details — the color of a truck in the parking lot at the strip mall where the Marathon Clothing store was located, the order of events during Holder’s initial confrontation with Nipsey — was intended to cast doubt on her reliability as a witness.
To that end, it’s reported Jansen did get Nicholson to acknowledge she didn’t see any violent signs from Holder and that she was never close enough to hear more than a minute of the men’s conversation, which she’d said in 2019 revolved around Nipsey accusing Holder of being a snitch. This was apparently what incited Holder to return to the store minutes later and fire at Nipsey, killing him and hitting two bystanders.