Before I start, let me make a few things very clear.
- I believe hitting a woman is a despicable act, as a husband, I can’t imagine a situation where I would do so, and as a father, I would absolutely destroy any “man” who put his hands on my 4-year-old daughter, or my son if he ever even had the thought of doing so to any woman.
- I believe that our justice system was designed around a single premise: that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty” ... however, that through time, there are certain acts, like domestic violence, where our societal views have begun to default immediately to guilt, and place the burden of proof, unfairly, on the accused. We view many of these types of cases as black-and-white, open-and-shut. ... Casting these individuals as horrible human beings who don’t deserve to breathe, and the only picture of “justice” involves them paying mightily for their actions. I believe that there are certain situations in which those feelings inevitably influence the actions of those in law enforcement as well as the judicial system. ... Thus bringing about the importance of a trial by jury, and unanimous verdicts.
Certain people, including Dallas’ own Dale Hansen of WFAA Channel 8 have adopted the view that Hardy is without a doubt, guilty, and Mr. Hansen declared so in his statements regarding the Dallas Cowboys this week. ( Our complete coverage of Hardy/Cowboys angles is collected here.)
Hansen's "unplugged'' piece from Wednesday is seen above. His Thursday roundtable featuring our own Mike Fisher is here.
The purpose of this piece is not to declare Greg Hardy to be innocent or guilty of the actions of which he was accused; it is simply to provide as true a picture as possible of the events that took place, their context, and their aftermath, to allow you (the reader) to come to your own conclusion.
Hardy came into the NFL with questions about his off-field behavior, after being suspended for two games by the University of Mississippi for missing meetings and breaking team rules, and even kicked off the team before being reinstated. However, Tyrone Nix, Hardy’s defensive coordinator at Ole Miss told the Charlotte Observer that Hardy never had any incidence involving violence towards women in his time there, and that he “has always been a guy of high character, as far as respect to others.” Prior to the incident in question, Hardy’s criminal record consisted only of traffic violations, including speeding, on operator’s license (waived), window-tinting violation (waived), and driving without registration (waived).
Hardy and the alleged victim, Nicole Holder, entered a romantic relationship in September 2013, the start of Hardy’s finest year of professional football, while Holder was employed as a waitress at a Charlotte nightclub. They remained in a relationship which a friend of Holder described as “really good, really bad, with nothing in between” until they broke up in February 2014, although they did stay in contact and occasionally engage intimately.
After the couple split, Holder entered a brief relationship with the rapper Nelly, which had upset Hardy, but by the time of the incident in question, they were trying to “reconcile the relationship.”
On May 10, 2014, two nights before the incident in question, Holder was seen following Hardy out of her place of employment, The Epicenter nightclub in Charlotte, crying and blocking his car from leaving. Security guards involved the police after Holder kicked the door of Hardy’s car.
The night of the incident
The night of May 12, 2014, Hardy, and Holder, along with Hardy’s assistant and other friends, went out drinking. Holder later admitted to snorting cocaine that night, although a co-worker enacted her Fifth Amendment rights when asked about taking cocaine with Holder that night. After a night of partying, including Hardy getting upset when a Nelly song was played in one of the clubs they visited, they returned to Hardy’s apartment and continued to party.
The 9-1-1 Calls: At approximately 4:18 a.m., Hardy made a call to 9-1-1, in which he stated the following:
- That Holder had hit him in the face twice, and wouldn’t leave the apartment, and that she told him to break her arm when he asked her to leave.
- Hardy’s assistant was trying to retain her but she was attempting to his Hardy with a shoe.
- Hardy stated that she wouldn’t let him close the door to the apartment and that he “can’t touch her to get her out”.
- That he was trying to stay away from her, and that he was behind the bar, and wasn’t touching her, but that she had broken some glass and he couldn’t walk through his kitchen. Additionally he repeatedly asked “What do I do?”
- When asked if he needed a medic he stated that he was “a little swollen” but didn’t notice any bleeding, although later in the call he said “Ah (expletive), am I bleeding? (Expletive), I’m bleeding, man. (Expletive).”
- (Female) “Domestic Violence. Do you hear that bull(expletive)? He’s beating her (expletive) in there. Some girl’s getting her (expletive) beat upstairs, and I heard it. And I seen it. He is beating her (expletive) right the (expletive) now. So get here now. I was in the apartment, he’s beating her (expletive).''
- The building attendant stated that the female told him that she was in the front room of the apartment, and heard the argument in the back room.
- The attendant also stated that the female who was speaking on the call had initially stated that she heard the altercation, and later said she had seen it.
- According to the attendant, while they were on the call, the other female (Holder) walked out of the apartment (and apparently down stairs to his post).
- (Attendant) “I don’t know her name. She just stated her name to you. It’s my first time seeing these girls ever. The one that was talking, she’s drunk. You can tell that she’s inebriated.”
The incident report & arrest warrant: The incident report for the investigation lists a white, 24-year-old female (Holder) as the victim, although the name was temporarily withheld on the copy I was able to view. In the report, the officer stated that the victim was drunk, and had incurred minor injuries (Bruises/Scratches), and refused medical treatment at the scene. The only listing of weapons was “Personal Weapons (hands, feet, teeth, etc.)”. The narrative listed by the officer stated “On May 13, 2014 at approximately 0418 the victim was physically assaulted by the suspect at his residence located at (blank). The victim and suspect have been in an active relationship together since September 2013.” At 12:49 PM on May 13, 2014, a warrant was issued for Hardy’s arrest. The warrant stated that Hardy assaulted Holder by (the capital letters are present in the document): “GRABBING VICTIM AND THROWING ON THE FLOOR, THROWING INTO A BATHTUB, SLAMMING HER AGAINST A FUTON, AND STRANGLING HER.” The Restraining Order: On May 14, 2014, Holder filed a “Complain and motion for domestic violence protective order” against Hardy, with the following statement: “On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms, and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. He picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all those assault rifles were loaded. Landing on those weapons bruised my neck and back. Hardy screamed for his “administrative assistant” (Sammy Curtis) to come into the room and hold me down. Curtis came into the room, grabbed me from behind and held me down. Hardy and Curtis then took me into the living room area. I wasn’t nearly strong or fast enough to escape. I begged them to let me go & I wouldn’t tell anyone what he did. They took me out into the hall, pushed me down & went back inside his apartment. I crawled to the elevator, and ran into CMPD.” The restraining order, however, was dismissed when Holder did not show up in court on May 15th, 2014.
The “Bench Trial”
Despite the Constitution calling for all criminal charges to be tried before a jury, state law in North Carolina (calls for misdemeanor charges to first be tried before a Judge only, then gives those convicted in these trials the right to a jury trial in a superior court as an “appeal”. For more information on North Carolina’s process, go here. On July 15, 2014, Hardy stood trial before Judge Becky Thorne Tin, who has participated in multiple women’s initiatives, including the Women Girls Alliance, and the Nurse Family Partnership. In the trial, described as “crazy” by the Charlotte Observer, the following items were testified before the judge.
- The couple met because Hardy dated one of Holders ex-roommates.
- The dated from September to February, but kept in contact and had sex occasionally after that.
- Holder testified: “He looked me in my eyes and he told me he was going to kill me. I was so scared I wanted to die. When he loosened his grip (around her neck) slightly, I said ‘ Just do it. Kill me.’”
- Holder also re-stated that Hardy threw her onto a futon with several guns on it, which injured her. When asked why she didn’t pick up a gun and use it to defend her self she said she wouldn’t have known how to use it.
- Hardy testified that he didn’t hurt her that night and that any injuries she received were self-inflicted.
- A key witness for the prosecution, Christina Lawrence, who was in the apartment but barely knew Hardy and Holder, had heard, but not seen much of the argument that night.
- Lawrence said she heard arguing, scuffling, and someone being slammed into a wall.
- Lawrence was the woman heard on the building attendent’s 911 call.
- The judge found that Holder was a “consistent and credible witness” of the events of that night, even after she admitted to using Cocaine that evening.
- At one point Hardy stated, “I’m not one to fight, I don’t even fight dudes.”
- Holder testified that Hardy made the 911 call after the attack, in an attempt to hide his actions while she was being restrained by his assistant, and said “Run, little girl. You’re going to jail.”
- Laura Iwanicki (a co-worker of Holder) testified that she walked past the futon full of weapons, and took a photo with her phone.
- When shown the photo, Hardy stated that Iwanicki had shot it earlier that day, and the guns weren’t on the bed when the argument with Holder broke out.
- When Hardy’s attorney, Chris Fialko, cross examined Holder he accused her of making up the story. No man as big as Hardy, he said, could do what she said he did, and not leave her seriously injured. “You didn’t break a fingernail did you?” Fialko asked. “I did break a fingernail, a toenail,” she replied. “Well, good,” Fialko said sarcastically.
- Fialko argued in his closing arguments that the state had failed to carry the burden of proof, reminding the judge that Hardy is the one who placed the 911 call and that the responding officers who may have been “gun-shy of doubting a woman” in an assault case, had decided prematurely that Holder was the victim, and not his client.
- He describe Holder as an erratic young woman who flew into an alcohol- and cocaine-induced jealous rage after Hardy told her to leave the apartment. He argued that her testimony was not believable.
- After 10 hours of testimony, the judge ruled that the evidence persuaded her beyond a reasonable doubt that Hardy beat Holder, threw her around his apartment, then tried to hide his actions with the fabricated 911 call.
After the Bench Trial
On February 9th 2015, the date of Hardy’s jury trial, Holder failed to show up for court. The District Attorney stated that they hadn’t spoken to Holder since November despite taking “extraordinary measures’ to locate her, they have been unable to. The prosecutor stated that he had “reliable information” that Hardy and Holder had reached a settlement to preclude any civil action in the case.
The DA, Andrew Murray, said that Hardy’s case was different than most Domestic Violence cases in which the victim or witnesses will stop cooperating. In most cases the prosecutors will still take the case to court. In this case however, in a statement to the judge, Murray inferred doubts about Holders credibility.
Even though Hardy’s team had appealed the judge’s ruling in the bench trial before leaving court seven months prior, the DA’s office had only “recently” compared what Holder told police the night of the incident with her testimony in court.
The prosecutors had failed to obtain a transcript of the Bench Trial, as transcripts are not typically taken in district court, although Hardy’s team did hire a court reporter.
Because of this the DA stated that they “did not have sufficient legal basis” to enter her statements to police as evidence in her absence. One legal expert opined, “If they’re seeing something in the evidence that gives them pause, they may have been placed in a ethical dilemma where they don’t want to vouch for their witness.”
This insinuates that the prosecution’s case was beginning to fall apart weeks before the trial, and with Holder not present to testify, and no record of her prior court testimony, they had no case to stand on, and significant questions regarding the credibility of her original statements, resulting in the charges being dropped.
Where was Holder?
Although the prosecution claimed they did not know where she was, had no contact with her since November 2014, and were unable to locate her to subpoena her to testify, Holder used social media several times between 2014 and the trial. According to her Facebook she lived in Wilmington, N.C. before Thanksgiving before returning to Mooresville.
- “Back in Mooresville for the holidays whats up this week Lkn (Lake Norman) ??” – Facebook post
- On December 8 she dined at Sam’s No 3 Diner in Colorado, and posted pictures with a friend snowboard around Vail the same day.
- She was shopping in Atlanta on December 22, and posted a picture in Grand Central Station in New York City the next day.
These are the facts, statements, and context of the incident in question in regards to Greg Hardy that were used to compile this article.Timeline of events 9-1-1 Transcripts Warrant Protective Order Judge Becky Thorne Tin Women Girls Alliance Trial Article #1 Trial Article #2 The Case Unravels Hardy upset about Nelly Arrest 1 Arrest 2 Restraining order dismissed Where is Holder