LOS ANGELES – A judge issued an arrest warrant for an eyewitness on Thursday Shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle because he failed to testify at the trial of the man accused of murder, and in his absence a police detective testified about the withholding of witnesses that has shaped the case.
Evan “Rimpau” MacKenzie, a close friend of Hussle’s who carried pallbearers at his funeral and stood by him when he was shot, has repeatedly ignored subpoenas asking him to appear and testify for the prosecution, leading to Judge H. Clayjacke led II warrant issue with $500,000 bail.
“Mr. Mackenzie, did he refuse to testify?” Aaron Jansen, attorney for defendant Eric Holder, asked Los Angeles Police Detective Cedric Washington, who replied that MacKenzie had said so in phone calls.
The taboo against “snitching” permeated every part of the trial of Holder, who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2019 death of Hussle and attempted murder by shooting at two bystanders.
It was a conversation between Holder and Hussle on the subject — in which Hussle Holder said there were rumors of “paperwork” suggesting he spoke to authorities — which prosecutors cite as a motive for Holder to return minutes later to gun down Hussle.
The shooting took place in a predominantly black south Los Angeles neighborhood where both men and most of the Witnesses grew up and where distrust of the police and courts runs deep. Even Hussle’s friends and fans and people hit by Holder’s gunshots were reluctant to speak in public.
“I don’t know anything, I don’t see anything,” Kerry Lathan, who was wounded in the shooting, said on the witness stand last week and refused to identify himself in surveillance video played to the jury. He then declined to identify Holder as the shooter.
“You don’t want to testify about what happened?” Assistant District Attorney John McKinney asked him.
“That’s right,” Lathan replied.
On Thursday, Jansen tried to pin the reluctance on Holder and Hussle’s ties to the Rollin’ 60s street gang.
“Is there typically a reluctance to testify in gang cases?” asked Janssen.
“I wouldn’t limit it to gang cases,” Washington replied.
“I’m asking about gang cases,” said Jansen.
“I think it’s common, yes,” Washington said.
Jansen continued, “Several witnesses in this case said they didn’t want to go to court and felt their families were in danger, right?”
Washington acknowledged that there were.
In follow-up questions from prosecutors, Washington downplayed the gang aspect.
“I have investigated many cases that are outside the scope of gang cases. I’ve found that the majority of people are reluctant to go to court or speak to law enforcement,” Washington said. “Everyone seems to think they will face retaliation if they go to court.”
“In this case, was any witness who accused him of treason threatened?” McKinney asked.
Washington said no to both questions and acknowledged that an anonymous caller had threatened him last week Bryannita Nicholson, who testified for the prosecution that she had acted as Holder’s unwitting getaway driver.
Nicholson, who was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony, had kept her identity a secret when testifying before a grand jury in 2019.
Last week, after her identity was revealed but before she made a statement, she received the call.
“A male voice was heard saying something like, ‘They had Nipsey Hussle killed,'” Washington said. “Bryannita hung up.”
McKinney emphasized that the threat was not about her testimony but about her role in Hussle’s death.
Nicholson was given added security and escorted through a special entrance for her two-day testimony this week, where she appeared to speak freely and confidently, showing no reluctance.
Others were far more hesitant and withdrawn on the witness stand, although several eyewitnesses have identified Holder as the shooter, making it unlikely that the absence and silence of other witnesses will do much harm to a strong criminal case.
The defense has admitted that Holder shot Hussle, but say there was no intent and he was not guilty of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors only have one more witness before they let their case rest, and the jury may have it soon.
“Unless Rimpau gets picked up,” McKinney said after the trial.
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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/06/24/witnesses-drag-feet-at-trial-of-nipsey-hussle-shooter/ Witnesses at rapper Nipsey Hussle trial