Nipsey Hussle took a picture with the driver before he was shot.
On Monday, the woman who is being held on murder charges in the shooting death of rapper Nipsey Hussle testified that she unknowingly drove the man to and from the scene of the shooting.
Bryannita Nicholson, 35, said she was surprised and happy to see Hussle, whose music she liked, when she and Eric Holder, who she had been seeing but not dating for about five weeks, pulled into a South Los Angeles shopping center on March 31, 2019.
Nicholson testified, “I said, ‘Ooh, there goes Nipsey, he’s fine, I want to take a picture with him.”
On day four of Holder’s trial, key prosecution witness Nicholson testified in exchange for immunity. First-degree murder charges have been brought against him for the death of a 33-year-old hip-hop artist who had just been nominated for a Grammy for his major-label debut album.
Holder had asked Nicholson to pull over so he could eat at the Master Burger restaurant located in the same shopping center as Hussle’s clothing store, The Marathon.
Holder got out of the car and walked to Nipsey Hussle while Nicholson looked for parking, all without telling her he knew Hussle from growing up in the same neighborhood and having ties to the same street gang.
In Nicholson’s words, “I just thought he was trying to beat me to go see him before I saw him.” She walked in on Holder having a conversation with Hussle, his voice raised to make his point without coming off as aggressive.
“Eric asked Nipsey Hussle, “Did you tell somebody I snitched?” She patiently waited her turn, and then snapped what might have been the last selfie Hussle ever appeared in. At trial, the image of Nicholson grinning behind her sunglasses was played, with Hussle’s bearded, white-clothed, and headscarfed face staring sternly into the camera.
“I was just excited, I was just happy, I just wanted to show my Facebook friends,” said Nicholson, who hastily returned to the car to upload the photo. Holder ordered some chili fries at Master Burger and told her to ride around the neighborhood.
While she was doing that, he produced a black semiautomatic handgun, attached a magazine to it, and then pulled the trigger. A part of me wanted to ask, “What are you doing?” Nicholson testified, “You put that away, you ain’t going to shoot nothing outside my car.” The item was indeed stowed away after she instructed him to.
Nicholson claimed that she stopped the car in an alley because Holder told her to. He calmly ate a few fries without appearing to be upset or angry. Not to worry, Nicholson, he promised. He would return soon.
Nicholson speculated that he might be buying a shirt from Hussle’s store. However, she quickly became aware of gunfire and the retreating figure of an elderly man. She started to move her car as if to leave, but then reconsidered out of concern for Holder’s safety. Previous witnesses testified that they saw Holder shoot Hussle at least ten times, kick him in the head, and then walk away.
On Monday, a prosecutor played footage from a police body camera that showed Nipsey Hussle lying motionless in a parking lot while his brother performed CPR by counting aloud and pressing on his chest as instructed by a 911 operator.
Holder “power-walked” over to Nicholson’s car and hopped in. “I was like, ‘What happened?'” Nicholson testified. He remarked, “You talk too much; I ought to slap you. She continued, “And he was just like, ‘Drive! Drive! “
Nicholson testified in 2019 before a grand jury without revealing her identity. On Monday, her identity was revealed as she repeated her story in open court while Holder sat silently and unresponsively in the gallery.
Nicholson said that while driving Holder home to Long Beach on the day of the shooting, Holder refused to talk.
In due time, she would hear the tragic news that Nipsey Hussle had been murdered on the evening news. Friends had posted messages under her Hussle photo and on their own pages suggesting that Holder was the prime suspect.