In the trial of Nispey Hussle’s accused killer on Monday, the woman who drove admitted shooter Eric Holder to and from the scene of the 2019 murder testified that she did so unwittingly—and that she could not believe that he had actually fired the fatal rounds despite witnessing him load a gun moments before.
Bryannita Nicholson, 35, a key prosecution witness who is getting immunity in exchange for her testimony, took the stand at Los Angeles Superior Court on the fourth day of Holder’s trial to recount the tragic shooting, which took place on March 31, 2019 outside of Hussle’s Hyde Park clothing store, the Associated Press reports.
Nicholson told the court that Holder—whom she had been in a casual relationship with for roughly five weeks—to a burger joint located in the same parking center as Hussle’s store when they spotted the 33-year-old rapper.
Nicholson said she was surprised and excited to see Hussle, whose music she loved.
“I said, ‘Ooh, there goes Nipsey, he fine,” she testified. “I want to take a picture with him.’”
Without telling her that he knew Hussle from growing up in the same neighborhood and having connections to the same gang known as the Rollin’ 60s, Holder got out of the car and walked toward Hussle while Nicholson was looking for parking.
“I just thought he was trying to beat me to go see him before I saw him,” Nicholson told the court.
When she finally joined Holder, she heard him ask Hussle—in a stern but seemingly unaggressive tone—“‘Did you tell somebody I snitched?’”
When asked by Senior Deputy District Attorney John McKinney if she sensed a fight was brewing between Holder and Hussle, she responded, “No, it didn’t occur to me at all,” the New York Post reports.
Nicholson waited to take a selfie with Hussle—an image that was shown in court on Monday. According to AP, she was smiling in sunglasses while Hussle, who was wearing a white T-shirt and white headscarf, held a steely gaze in the photograph.
“I was just excited, I was just happy, I just wanted to show my Facebook friends,” said Nicholson, who rushed back to the car and posted the image.
Holder went into Master Burger, came out with chili fries, and told her to drive around the block. As she did that, Nicholson said Holder pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun and began loading it.
“I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ You put that away, you ain’t going to shoot nothing outside my car,” she testified. “He did put it away.”
At Holder’s instruction, she then pulled into an alley where he said he wanted to stop and eat, Nicholson testified. She recalls him taking a few bites of his food, before jumping out of the car. He told her to wait there and that he’d return shortly.
Nicholson said that he didn’t appear angry and that she thought he might have been purchasing a shirt at Hussle’s store. But a few minutes later, she heard gunshots and saw an older man running.
She contemplated fleeing the area, but was worried Holder may have been hurt.
Previous witnesses in the case testified that they saw Holder shoot Hussle at least 10 times, then kick him in the head before walking away.
Soon after, Nicholson said Holder appeared to be “power-walking” toward her car and got inside.
“I was like, ‘What happened?,’” Nicholson testified. “He said, ‘You talk too much I ought to slap you.’ And he was just like, ‘Drive! Drive!’”
Nicholson’s identity was sealed during her 2019 testimony in front of a grand jury, but was revealed on Monday as she testified to the same story in open court.
Holder refused to speak as she drove him home to Long Beach on the day of the shooting, she said. It wasn’t until later that she saw on the local news that Hussle had been killed. On Facebook, friends commented on Nicholson’s selfie with Hussle and on their own page that Holder was the alleged shooter.
“Did it start to occur to you at that moment that Eric might have done it?” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney asked Nicholson.
“Yes,” Nicholson responded.
Despite questioning his involvement in the fatal shooting, she picked Holder up later that evening when he called her and brought him back to her Los Angeles home, the New York Post reports.
“I asked him about it again… he didn’t say too much and he went to the balcony, smoked marijuana, and he went to sleep. That was it,” Nicholson said.
Before court adjourned for the day on Monday, Nicholson reportedly struggled to explain why she picked Holder up after hearing about Hussle’s death, according to AP.
She will take the stand again on Tuesday.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.