LOS ANGELES (AP) – A woman testified Monday that she inadvertently shot the man who is now accused of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle, and did not admit that she shot a gun a moment earlier. Despite being seen loading, lethal bullets had been fired.
Brianita Nicholson, 35, said she was shocked when she and Eric Holder, with whom she had been in a casual relationship (but not quite dating) for about five weeks, walked into a shopping center in South Los Angeles on March 31, 2019. Remained. And it was a pleasure to see Hussle, whose music he liked.
“I said, ‘Oh, goes Nipsey, she’s fine,'” Nicholson testified, “I want to take a picture with her.”
Testimony from Nicholson, a key prosecutor’s witness, who in turn is getting an exemption, came on the fourth day of Holder’s trial. He has been charged with first-degree murder for the murder of a 33-year-old hip-hop artist who was nominated for a Grammy for his major-label-debut album after years of underground acclaim.
Nicholson said he didn’t know that Hussle owned the shopping center that was home to his clothing store The Marathon and the Master Burger restaurant where Holder asked him to stop so he could get food.
Without telling him that he knew Hustle from growing up in the same neighborhood and having ties to the same street gang, Holder got out of the car and drove Hustle while Nicholson looked for parking.
Nicholson said, “I thought he was trying to kill me to see him before he could see me.”
He was talking to Hustle when she joined Holder, his voice raised to make his point but not sounding aggressive.
“Eric was asking Nipsey, ‘Did you tell anyone I snatched? Nicholson said.
He waited his turn, then took a selfie with Hussle, possibly the last photo he ever appeared in. It was shown in court, with Nicholson smiling in sunglasses and steely, wearing a hustle, white T-shirt and white headscarf. At the camera from behind him.
“I was just excited, I was just happy, I just wanted to show my Facebook friends,” said Nicholson, who got back to the car and posted the picture.
Holder went to Master Burger, came out with chili fries, and told him to drive him around the block. As he did so, he pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun, loaded his magazine, and planted it.
“I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ You put it away, you’re not going to shoot anything outside my car,” Nicholson testified. “He put it away.”
Nicholson said that on Holder’s instructions, she walked into an alley where she said she wanted to stop and eat. He took a few pieces of his fry, and didn’t get annoyed or upset. He told Nicholson not to go anywhere – he would just come back.
Nicholson said he thought he could find the shirt at Hustle’s store. But he soon heard gunshots, and saw an old man running.
He considered running away and started shaking his car, but he changed his mind, worried Holder might get hurt.
Past witnesses in the case testified that they saw Holder shoot Hussle at least 10 times, then kick him in the head before walking away.
On Monday, a prosecutor showed police body camera video of Hussle lying outside and still in the parking lot as his brother counted loudly and pressed on his chest, trying to revive him with CPR under the direction of a 911 operator. was trying.
In Nicholson’s car, Holder soon appeared, “power-walking,” she said, and walked in.
“I was like, ‘What happened?,'” Nicholson testified. He said, ‘You talk too much, I should slap you. And he was like, ‘Drive! Drive!'” she said.
Nicholson’s identity was hidden during his 2019 testimony before a grand jury. His name surfaced on Monday as he told essentially the same story in open court, with Holder sitting nearby, staring mostly straight ahead and giving no apparent response.
Holder declined to speak because she had taken him home to Long Beach on the day of the shooting, Nicholson said.
She later learns on local news that Hussle had been killed. On Facebook, friends were saying in the comments below his Hustle photo and on their own page that Holder was suspicious.
“Did it happen to you at the time that Eric might have done that?” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney asked.
“Yes,” replied Nicholson.
But when Holder called her that evening, she asked to pick him up and she brought him back to her Los Angeles home.
Nicholson struggled to explain why she would do what she learned after the court adjourned for the day.
She begins testifying on Tuesday.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: