Trial underway for Wake County man accused of killing in-laws

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Nathan Holden's ex-wife, Latonya Holden, took the stand.

Before opening statements even began Tuesday morning in the death penalty trial of a Wake County man accused of murdering his in-laws, the defendant interrupted the judge. And there was more drama later in the day when the man's ex-wife -- and only survivor of the attack -- took the stand.


Nathan Holden interrupted Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway during jury instructions to say he wanted jurors instructed on the constitution.

"Attention your honor, I'm pleading that the jury can instruct their own truth and constitution and that the white man's interpretation of law," he said. "And uhh ... and free (inaudible). I believe that the jury be instructed the constitution be up to natural interpretation."

The jury is made up of nine men and three women. The racial makeup is 11 white and one African American.

RELATED: 2 dead in Wake County triple shooting near Wendell

Holden faces first-degree murder charges in connection with the fatal shootings of 57-year-old Angelia Smith Taylor and 66-year-old Sylvester Taylor near Wendell in April 2014.

LaTonya Holden was shot and seriously injured on April 9, 2014 at her parent's home in the 1100 block of Lake Glad Road.

"I was like I'm leaving. I'm not happy. I don't see us working this out and I'm gone," LaTonya Holden said on the witness stand Tuesday.

LaTonya Holden has not yet testified about the day of the attack. She is expected to do so Wednesday morning. You can watch it live here.

Nathan Holden's defense attorney said during opening statements that the case is not a "'who done it,' this is about what happened."

"Nate Holden is the one who is responsible for the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. He did shoot his wife." Defense Attorney Elizabeth Hambourger said.

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Opening statements from Defense Attorney Elizabeth Hambourger

The couple's three children were in the home at the time of the shooting, but they were not hurt.

"LaTonya did what any mother would do, she took her attention and focused it on her kids. She did everything she could to keep them safe. She put them in the closet, told them that she loved them, because she didn't know if she was ever going to see them again," Prosecutor Jason Waller explained to the jury during opening statements said.

He went on to explain that LaTonya called 911 to report that Nathan Holden was at the home shooting after hearing her mother call out for her father and hearing shots fired while in a back bedroom.

Jurors were told by the prosecution that Holden beat and shot his wife while their children listened from a closet. Waller said LaTonya's survival was miraculous.

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Raw video of Prosecutor Jason Waller during opening statements

Hambourger told the jury that what the defense wants them to understand is "how things got to this point within this particular family."

"This case is about why this happened and it is about Nate Holden's state of mind at the time it happened," she said.

Investigators said Angelia Smith Taylor was found dead inside the home, while Sylvester Taylor was found dead in the yard.

Authorities arrested Holden after a standoff near his home hours later.

Court documents show LaTonya Holden had a restraining order against her husband when the incident happened. The couple separated back in December 2013.

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