Latonya Taylor Allen sat in the witness box of a Wake County courtroom Wednesday, just yards from her ex-husband and the father of her three children.
Nathan Holden, the man with whom she had a 10-year marriage, is on trial, accused of killing her parents and attempting to murder her. Holden, 32, faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.
Allen became emotional as she described a pistol whipping and shooting that sent her to her knees in a bedroom of her parents’ hosue, just inches from Holden, begging the man she was in the process of divorcing to take her somewhere else if he was going to kill her.
Her children were huddled together in the bedroom’s closet, screaming out and crying.
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“I was just still fighting and begging him, just take me away,” Allen recalled as her voice began to quiver with emotion. “I didn’t want him to kill me there. I didn’t want my children to see me dead.”
Holden’s defense team acknowledges that he killed Angelia and Sylvester Taylor on April 9, 2014, at their Wendell home. Allen was staying with them at the time, while in the process of ending her marriage.
Elizabeth Hambouger, one of Holden’s attorneys, told jurors in her opening statement that the violence Holden committed did not include the premeditation required to return a first-degree murder verdict.
Wake County prosecutors contend otherwise.
At one point on Wednesday, Jason Waller, an assistant district attorney, asked Allen to step down from the witness stand so she could show jurors how close Holden was to her as she was down on her knees pleading for the violence to stop.
Waller was down on his knees as Allen would have been. She stood within three inches of him, standing over him with her hand pointed toward his heart.
“I was down on the floor,” Allen said. “I remember being down on my knees, and at that time I had lost eyesight in one of my eyes. And he was still beating me in the head and the face, and he stood over me and shot me.”
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
Waller told Judge Paul Ridgeway, the Superior Court judge presiding over the trial, that he planned to call the couple’s teenage son to testify, too.