LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge today ordered the release of grand jury transcripts in the case of a 29-year-old man accused of the March 31 killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle and the wounding of two other men in front of the musician's clothing store in South Los Angeles.
“I do not expect, frankly, that a fair trial will be beyond our reach,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said in agreeing to the Los Angeles' Times request that the grand jury transcripts be released in the case of Eric Ronald Holder Jr.
The judge noted that “we live in a society that is moving away from the printed page,” while urging Deputy District Attorney John McKinney to “keep a lid on the videos.”
Holder's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lowynn Young, had objected to the transcripts being released, arguing it could affect her client's right to a fair trial.
The judge had agreed at a June 5 hearing to temporarily keep the documents sealed because he wanted to hear more from attorneys on all sides.
A grand jury indictment, handed up May 9, charges Holder with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm, along with the allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm and caused great bodily injury and death. It also includes two assault charges involving the same victims named in the attempted murder counts.
At a court hearing May 10, a judge appointed the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office to represent Holder following the withdrawal of Chris Darden -- a former prosecutor best known for his work in the O.J. Simpson murder trial -- as his attorney.
Holder is accused of fatally shooting the 33-year-old Hussle -- whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom -- at about 3:20 p.m. March 31 in front of The Marathon Clothing store the singer owned in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue in Hyde Park. Two other men also were wounded in the attack, though only one of them was hospitalized.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said Holder got into a personal dispute with Hussle outside the store, then left and returned with a handgun.
Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner's office.
The police chief declined to discuss the nature of the disagreement between Holder and Hussle but stressed the shooting appeared to be a result of that dispute, not any type of gang rivalry or feud.
“We believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” Moore said. “I'm not going to go into the conversations, but it appears to be a personal matter between the two of them.”
Holder was arrested by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies about 1 p.m. April 2 in the 9000 block of Artesia Boulevard in Bellflower after a witness called authorities to report seeing a person believed to be Holder.
The aspiring rapper is being held in lieu of $6.53 million bail.
Holder could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless.
Hussle helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his clothing shop, where he was fatally wounded.
Photos: Getty Images