Defense attorney: Trial of Wendell man not a whodunit
Posted February 14
Raleigh, N.C. — LaTonya Taylor Allen is the only adult survivor of a violent 2014 attack by her estranged husband Nathan Holden. She said the attack followed a bitter end to an unraveling marriage.
"I knew I was done. I was just tired, I was unhappy, I was hurt," she said.
The defense admits Holden, 32, shot Allen and her parents, Angelia Smith Taylor and Sylvester Taylor, on April 9, 2014, at their home in eastern Wake County. 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 were unharmed.
"All Nate's anger and stress and fear about the divorce, about his children, it came pouring out, and he did something that was completely out of character for him," said defense attorney Elizabeth Hambouger during opening statements Tuesday morning. "What was done was completely out of character and done without deliberation whatsoever."
Allen’s mother, 57, was found dead inside the home, and her father, 66, was found dead in the yard, investigators said.
Investigators say Holden went back into the house, where Allen and their three children were hiding in a closet.
"The young girls were crying saying, "Help, help my mommy is hurt, help,'" said Deputy Cameron Broadwell with the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Holden shot Allen in the face and chest before the gun jammed, then Holden beat her with the butt of the pistol, investigators said.
"She was gasping for air, and I remember her saying, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe,'" Broadwell said.
During testimony on Tuesday afternoon, Capt. Sylvester Taylor II, Allen's brother, said in the weeks before the killings, he had a chilling conversation with the defendant.
"I said 'Nate, where are you at? Again, do not do anything. We can help,'" Taylor said. “He responded, ‘Nothing you can do now, it's over.’”
Hambouger said Holden was full of despair over his troubled marriage and believed his father-in-law to be dangerous.
After the shootings, Holden fled the scene, according to authorities, and was found near his home, at 3535 Holden Acres Lane – about 10 miles away from his in-laws' home.
According to investigators, Holden opened fire on a K-9 handler and other deputies before he was taken into custody.
The trial is expected to last about four weeks. If convicted, Holden could face the death penalty.
Allen is expected to take the stand again Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.