Suspect Accused of Killing Nipsey Hussle Pleads Not Guilty

Damian Dovarganes-Pool/Getty Images
Attorney Christopher Darden, left, and Eric Holder, right

The 33-year-old rapper and community activist was shot multiple times over what police called a "personal dispute."

The man accused of gunning down rapper Nipsey Hussle was charged with murder Thursday and subsequently pleaded not guilty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced. 

Eric Ronald Holder, 29, of Los Angeles was charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. The criminal complaint also includes allegations that he personally used a firearm and caused great bodily injury and death, according to the district attorney's office. 

Holder is being defended by Christopher Darden, a former prosecutor on the 1992 O.J. Simpson murder trial, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Darden did not have a comment at this time.

Holder was arrested Tuesday following a massive manhunt after he allegedly shot and killed Hussle (real name Ermias Joseph Asghedom) on Sunday afternoon in the area of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

The 33-year-old rapper and community activist was shot multiple times outside his clothing business over what police called a "personal dispute." Holder was captured without incident in the city of Bellflower, southeast of L.A., by deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Two additional men were also shot, allegedly by Holder, at the time of Hussle's slaying. They survived and are recovering. 

Holder is being held on $5 million bail, according to jail records. If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison. Holder is due back in court on May 10. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD chief Michel Moore held a press conference hours before Holder's capture, asking him to peacefully surrender. Along with other community leaders, the pair also addressed the recent uptick in deadly violence in South Los Angeles. 

LAPD commissioner Steve Soboroff revealed Sunday that plans had been put in place for the rapper and some of his crew to meet with authorities and discuss ways they could work together in helping to combat gang violence. That meeting will still take place in the near future, in the late rapper's honor. 

Hours after the shooting, hundreds gathered near the crime scene to mourn the rapper. On Monday night, numerous people (including some police officers) at the vigil were injured when trampled after a panic broke out over a gun being flashed, police said. Despite reports, Moore said no shots were fired in the crowd.

Hussle's death sent shock waves through the music, sports and entertainment community. Some of the biggest stars shared their heartbreak and anger via social media, including Meek Mill, Pharrell Williams, Chance the Rapper, Lebron James and Ava DuVernay, among numerous others.

The tributes did not stop on Tuesday. NBA superstar Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who completed the ultra-rare double triple-double (20 points, 20 rebounds, and 21 assists) in Los Angeles in his team's victory over the Lakers, dedicated the performance to his late friend. 

"That wasn't for me ... that's for my bro, man," Westbrook said after the game. "That's for Nipsey."