Jury finds Wake County man who killed in-laws, shot wife, guilty of first-degree murder

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Nathan Holden

A Raleigh jury has found a Wake County man who murdered his in-laws and shot his estranged wife in the face and chest, nearly killing her, guilty of first-degree murder.

Lawyers for Nathan Holden have not disputed that he did it. They've been trying to keep him off death row. The trial now moves into the death penalty phase.

Opening statements for that phase are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. You can watch it live on ABC11.com.

Holden killed 57-year-old Angelia Smith Taylor and 66-year-old Sylvester Taylor near Wendell in April 2014.

He also shot his estranged wife LaTonya Allen as the couple's three children were huddled in a nearby closet listening.

RELATED: 2 dead in Wake County triple shooting near Wendell

In his closing arguments Thursday, prosecutor Jason Waller outlined the couple's troubled history, including multiple episodes of domestic violence by Holden before the shootings, and how Allen had filed for a restraining order and was working towards getting a divorce. He said Holden refused to accept that the marriage was about to end.

"It's about hate. It's about selfishness. It's about hating someone that took something from you," said Waller.

But Holden's defense argued he should be convicted of second-degree murder, saying the attack was not premeditated.

"He didn't want it, didn't plan for it to happen," offered defense attorney Elizabeth Hambourger. "Nate did snap."

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The couple separated back in December 2013.

The doctor who operated on Allen's chest wound called her survival miraculous during testimony earlier in the trial.

RELATED: Doctor says it was 'miraculous' woman survived attack

In court last week, a social worker said that when she interviewed Holden two days after the murders he told her that "they got what they deserved."

Social worker Larna Haddix told jurors Holden blamed Allen for the crime.

"'All this was her fault. If she just would have answered the phone,'" Haddix explained. "That he continuously tried to call her all day. He called her and called her and she wouldn't answer the phone. And if she would have answered the phone none of this would have happened."

She then inquired about why he would take it out on his in-laws.

"I asked him why he would do that, you know, they were very nice people," Haddix said, to which Holden reportedly replied, "'What's done is done. They got what they deserved.'"

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