A man accused of shooting dead rapper Nipsey Hussle has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder.
Eric Holder spoke only to acknowledge his rights – attorney Chris Darden, who was one of the prosecutors during the OJ Simpson trial, entered the not guilty pleas.
The 29-year-old was told to return for a hearing on 10 May and ordered to be held on $5m bail.
Holder faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Nipsey Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times outside a clothing shop he owned in LA last Sunday.
Two other people were injured.
Police say the killing was motivated by a personal dispute between the two men, who they say had a verbal altercation.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore said at one point the suspect left before coming back with a gun and opening fire.
Eric Holder is an aspiring rapper and a suspected gang member, who according to the Los Angeles Times has a previous conviction for carrying a loaded gun.
Nipsey Hussle grew up in south LA and was a member of the Rollin’ 60s gang as a teenager.
He’s been remembered since his death as someone who promoted constructive projects in the neighbourhood he grew up in.
Celebrities including Rihanna and Drake posted tributes to the 33-year-old, and girlfriend Lauren London says she’s “completely lost” without her best friend.
Conspiracy theories have been spreading on social media since Nipsey was killed, with baseless claims that he was killed by one or more of the government, pharmaceutical companies or the Illuminati.
On the day he died, Nipsey tweeted saying “having strong enemies is a blessing”.
Nipsey’s death Background
Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, until his death, Nipsey Hussle, was an American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, and community activist from Los Angeles, California.
The Grammy-nominated artist, 33, was shot outside his clothing store, The Marathon, at 3.20pm on Sunday 31st March 2019. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Two other men were also shot in a “burst of gunfire”. They are both in stable condition in hospital.
The Los Angeles police still unsure of how the shooting happened.
Los Angeles police lieutenant Chris Ramirez said: “At this point, we’re not even sure as to whether he walked up, rode a bicycle or drove up in a car.”
Hussle, who released his debut album ‘Victory Lap’ last year, was behind the co-working space Vector 90, which aims to help underprivileged groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He was also working with the arts project Destination Crenshaw.
About the suspected killer Holder
The man suspected of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle, Eric Holder, was an aspiring lyricist himself, and released a track that included a promise to kill anyone he considered an enemy.
29-year-old Eric Holder raps under the name, Fly Mac, and has released a bunch of songs related to his life as a gangster. According to his Soundcloud page, Holder’s catalog includes a song called “Trippin’” that threatens to take violent action against anyone who “stepped out of line.”
The track also includes the line, “I leave your ass dead on critical // I cock back aim at you let it out // they gonna have a candlelight vigil.”
There are also many other references to shootings, bullets and leaving his victims bleeding out on the concrete.
The slaying of Nipsey Hussle was the result of personal beef between the hip-hop star and Holder, who was well known throughout the community.
During a candlelight vigil for Hussle, held on Monday night, multiple people were injuredand hospitalized after a stampede broke out.