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Jurors begin deliberating on death penalty in Nathan Holden trial

Posted March 2
Updated March 3

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— After testimony from nearly 50 witnesses and experts, a Wake County jury in the Nathan Holden double murder case began deliberating Friday morning about whether to sentence Holden to death or life in prison.

Holden, 32, shot and killed his ex-wife's parents, Angelia Smith Taylor and Sylvester Taylor, and shot and pistol-whipped his ex-wife, LaTonya Allen, at their home in Wendell on April 9, 2014.

LaTonya Allen's three children with Holden, a 15-year-old boy and two 8-year-old girls, were in the home at the time, but they were unharmed.

During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Matt Lively said Holden's case is "the type of case that calls for the death penalty."

Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller reminded the jury that Holden's violence extended long after the murders.

"From the moment he walked in the door, to the moment the handcuffs were put on him ... the violence he showed to Angelia, Sylvester, LaTonya, his kids, law enforcement, is for your consideration," Waller said.

After the murders, investigators located Holden about 10 miles away from the shooting scene and used a K-9 unit to track him to a nearby field. According to investigators, Holden opened fire on the K-9 handler and other deputies before he was taken into custody.

Waller also detailed the injuries Angelia Smith Taylor and Sylvester Taylor suffered.

"(Holden) shot Sylvester four times and left him to die in the backyard," he said.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Hambouger said Holden's case "is not a case that calls for the death penalty."

Hambouger does not deny that Holden committed heinous crimes, but said he had a tumultuous childhood and grew up in a home where his father beat his mother repeatedly.

"He had no coping strategy to fall back on," she said.

"This was the perfect storm of events. He snapped and did something that was completely out of character,” defense attorney Jonathan Broun said.

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