Raleigh, N.C. — Testimony continued Friday morning in the murder trial of Nathan Holden, a 32-year-old man who admits to shooting and killing his in-laws, and pistol whipping his ex-wife in April 2014.
Investigators say Holden shot LaTonya Taylor Allen in the face and chest before the gun jammed, then beat her with the butt of the pistol.
Holden does not deny that he killed Allen’s parents, Angelia Smith Taylor and Sylvester Taylor, and tried to kill her in their Wendell home, but his lawyers plan to argue that his rampage was not pre-meditated.
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.
Dr. James O’Neil, an otolaryngologist with WakeMed, took the stand Friday morning and described Allen’s injuries.
O’Neil said he saw Allen shortly after she arrived at the hospital on the night of the attack and had to place a breathing tube down her throat. He also testified that her maxilla, or upper jaw bone, was broken.
“To break the maxilla in that way takes a strong force,” he said. “I didn’t see any bullet fragments. I don’t know specifically, but I know to break a section of maxilla like that takes a pretty strong blow to that area, so she received some kind of blunt force to the front of her teeth.”
Jurors also heard from Larna Haddix, a social worker who described reports of domestic violence and interactions she had with the defendant.
Haddix said Holden blamed the attack on Allen and told her, “If she would have answered the phone that day none of this would have happened.”
“I asked him why did he do that, that they were very nice people,” Haddix said. “And he said, ‘What’s done is done. They got what they deserved.'”
A Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy was the last person to take the stand Friday afternoon before the jury recessed at 1 p.m.
Dept. Jeremy Evans was one of the first people on scene the night of the shootings.
He will continue testifying on Monday morning when the jury will see a 30-minute dash cam video recording of a conversation he had with Holden and Allen’s three children in his patrol car.
If convicted of the murders of his in-laws and the assault on his ex-wife, Holden could face the death penalty.