Judge: Panthers' star Greg Hardy guilty of abusing ex-girlfriend

Greg Hardy found guilty of assaulting ex girlfriend
Hardy arrives for his court appearance on Tuesday.
Hardy arrives for his court appearance on Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Carolina Panthers' defensive end Greg Hardy has been found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, inside his uptown Charlotte condo in May.

Hardy was sentenced to 60 days in prison followed by an 18-month probation after he assaulted his 24-year-old ex-girlfriend.  The sentence came down 12-hours after the trial started.

His attorney requested an appeal before a jury trial in superior court.  The move was expected if he was found guilty.

This means his sentence and probation will be suspended until a jury trial can be completed.

"We respect the judge's decision today," Hardy's attorney Chris Fialko said. "Greg Hardy will now have a brand new jury trial, and we're confident he'll be acquitted on both of these charges. "

"We felt really confident coming in because the truth is on our side," Daniel Zamora said. He is Holder's attorney. "There's much more to this story than just May 12 and May 13. We intend on sharing that story as well."

The original conditions of Hardy's bond are still in effect, meaning he has to attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, have no contact with Holder and had to turn over all firearms.

Hardy and Holder both took the stand on Tuesday in the case against the Carolina Panthers' star.

Twenty-four-year-old Holder was slated to be in court on Tuesday morning, but did not show up for the start of the trial. She did come to court several hours after the trial had started.

Nicole Holder took the stand on Tuesday afternoon and testified she started dating the pro-football player in 2013, saying the pair broke up after the Super Bowl.

On cross examination, defense lawyers asked her about trying to get back together with Hardy after he signed a $13.1 million contract with the Panthers.

She responded it was never about the money.  She said she loved Hardy.

Holder said the morning he attacked her, Hardy placed his hands around her neck and he said "I'm going to kill you." She said her response was "Just do it, kill me."

She says that was after being thrown, tossed and slammed around Hardy's apartment.

Officers were called to the defensive end's uptown Charlotte condo after several calls were placed to 911 about a possible assault.

The Charlotte police officer who responded to Hardy's apartment building was called as a witness in the trial on Tuesday.

The officers testified that a witness told him "Greg beat the (expletive) out of her."

The officer told the judge that Holder had a cut on her arm, scrapes and redness, a large bruise on her back and swelling on her shoulder. She was running out of the building, crying and missing a shoe, he testified.

Holder refused to give him a written statement at the scene, but told police that Hardy had thrown her to the floor and into a bathtub multiple times during an attack in May. She said Hardy threatened to kill her during the alleged attack.

In court, Hardy said Holder was "acting crazy" and fell into the bathtub, saying he didn't throw her.

In the domestic violence protection order which was filed after the incident , Holder told investigators that Hardy dragged her across the floor into the bedroom where he choked her with both hands before picking her up and throwing her onto a couch covered in assault rifles.

When he testified on Tuesday, Hardy said he had a few guns in his condo, but not as many as Holder alleged.

He says Holder threatened to beat him up and she refused to leave his condo.

A judge never granted the protection order, after Holder failed to show up for court. In a recorded 911 call, Hardy can be heard asking for them to help remove the woman from his home.

"My friend brought a girl home. She won't get out. We're trying to get her out of my house," Hardy told 911 operators in a call released shortly after his arrest. "She keeps running back in every time. My neighbor outside just witnessed everything."

"She's trying to hit me with her heel. She's trying to hit me with a shoe."

Hardy then yells and cusses, saying she just broke some glass inside the apartment.

"She's trying to hit me with another shoe, I'm behind the bar. I'm not touching her, my manager is restraining her," he said.

"She won't let me close the door and I can't touch her to get her out. She's literally kicking and scratching. She's hit me in the face twice and I'm trying to stay away from her. Can you please send somebody to help me?"

He tells the 911 operator that he doesn't need medic, saying she's hit him in the face, but he's not bleeding, but he's a little swollen."

Hardy can then be heard yelling to someone in the apartment that "you shouldn't have hit me, you shouldn't have hit me."

At least one woman can be heard yelling in the background of the 911 call.

"She's refusing to leave, she told me to break her arm when I asked her to leave," Hardy said. "What should I do? Should I leave? What should I do? She's like, she's very crazy."

The operator asks Hardy where he is and Hardy says he's inside the apartment and the woman is standing at the door and won't let him leave.

He says they had been trying to get the woman to leave for an hour.

"I've asked her to leave a thousand times and she hit me in the face, twice. I'm trying to walk around her, I can't walk through my kitchen, there's glass. She broke glass."

That's when emergency officials asked if there has been any drug use.

"I think she's on coke or something," Hardy said. "I don't know, I don't know. She's been drinking, I don't know what she's on man. She's....She will not stop coming at me, bro."

During the trial, Holder admitted to using cocaine and says she didn't want police to search her after the attack because she had cocaine in her purse.

The public police report lists alcohol as an "incapacity" for the victim, but does not mention alcohol for Hardy.

There appears to be about 40-seconds of confusion when the 911 operator asks if there were any weapons involved. Hardy keeps responding with who else was there and witnessed the incident.

"No, she keeps swinging her fists and her heels," Hardy can be heard saying. "I have one of her heels now. She's trying to fight my manager."

"She's trying to come at me bro, don't let her do it bro," Hardy said. "Please hurry."

During the trial, officers say Hardy's injuries on the night of the incident were consistent with being hit in the face with a shoe.

Judge Becky Tin is the same judge that presided over Hardy's bond hearing. At that time, she said the court was concerned about the bruises on the alleged victim's back.

A lawyer not associated with this trial says it's difficult to explain the back bruises.

"It doesn't matter if you're and Average Joe on the streets or if you're a professional athlete that plays for the Carolina Panthers," Zamora said. "If you assault a woman and you communicate to that woman that you're going to kill them, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be convicted."

When asked by his attorney if Hardy would play for the Panthers this year, he said "hopefully."

The Panthers had no comment on the trial or the verdict.

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