Football / Sports

Twists in Hardy assault case: Restraining order suit dismissed; guns must be turned in; argument linked to rapper Nelly

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The domestic violence case against the Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy took some surprising twists Thursday, with the dismissal of a request for a restraining order, a requirement that the Pro Bowl defensive end to turn over his weapons, and a link to the rapper Nelly.

In new documents filed in the case, Mecklenburg County District Judge Becky Thorne Tin ordered Hardy to turn over all of his firearms as an added condition of his bond.

Nicole Holder, 24, who alleges Hardy beat her up at his apartment early Tuesday, told authorities Hardy keeps a cache of 25 to 30 firearms at his two Charlotte residences. Holder says she cut her arm and bruised her back when Hardy slammed her into a futon covered with guns, according to documents filed Thursday.

Holder, a waitress at an EpiCentre nightclub, told authorities she and Hardy broke up in March, when she moved out of Hardy's home, according to documents. Holder said she and Hardy were trying to reconcile, but that Holder's "short-lived relationship" with Nelly during their breakup was a continuing source of friction since March. Holder said Hardy "often becomes suddenly very angry."

Nelly, a 39-year-old, Grammy-winning artist, is a part-owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.

Holder told police she and Hardy went out drinking with friends Monday night before returning to Hardy's uptown residence on North Tryon.

Holder claims she was lying in bed with Hardy when "he just snapped," according to the warrant worksheet. Holder says Hardy threw her to the floor, tossed her into a tile bathtub and slammed her into the futon.

She also says Hardy twice choked her during the altercation, leaving welts on her collarbone. Holder says Hardy "threw her around several times" and "beat the (expletive)" out of her.

It's unclear how Holder feels about the criminal case. She failed to show up for Thursday's hearing and also has parted ways with her attorney, Stephen Goodwin of Matthews.

Holder did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

Christopher Fialko, Hardy's attorney, said this week that Holder attacked Hardy.

Judge Charlotte Brown dismissed Holder's complaint when Holder wasn't in court for the early-afternoon hearing. Brown also accepted Goodwin's request to withdraw as counsel.

Goodwin said he and Holder mutually agreed to part ways, citing irreconcilable differences. He said this is the first time since 1996 he has withdrawn from representing a client.

Goodwin would not say whether Holder has hired another attorney in the civil matter, and declined to comment when asked if Holder planned to continue to pursue the criminal case.

The prosecution of domestic violence cases doesn't rely solely on the victim's participation. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said Thursday the charges are still pending.

Hardy, 25 and in his fifth season with the Panthers, was not in court Thursday. Hardy, who is 6-4 and 290 pounds, has been charged with assaulting a female and communicating threats, both misdemeanors.

He was released on $17,000 bond Wednesday and ordered to attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week and to stay away from Holder. Judge Tin amended the bond requirements Thursday, ordering Hardy to turn over "any and all weapons and firearms currently in his possession or to which he could otherwise have ready access to," according to documents.

Sherriff's department spokeswoman Julia Rush said she expected deputies to visit Hardy's home and ask for the weapons as early as Thursday night. The judge's hand-written order is not a search warrant, and deputies will not be able to enter Hardy's apartment without his permission, Rush said.

Thursday's hearing was to consider Holder's request that Hardy be barred from her home, EpiCentre, and the home of her parents in an adjacent county. She also wanted Hardy to be forced to surrender to the court all weapons and firearms to which he has access.

Judge Charlotte Brown dismissed the suit when Holder failed to appear.

Fialko said he was aware of the order, but declined to comment.

The criminal case against Hardy will continue.

Holder, who says in documents she began dating Hardy in September, filed for the restraining order Wednesday, one day after arrest warrants say Hardy assaulted her and threatened to kill her.

Both Hardy and Holder were intoxicated at the time of the incident, according to the judge.

Fialko, Hardy's attorney, said Holder set off the Tuesday morning fracas by attacking the player and a friend, Sammy Curtis.

Wednesday afternoon, authorities released a series of 911 tapes connected to the case. In one, a heavily breathing Hardy describes Holder as out of control, intoxicated and trying to attack him with the heel of her shoe.

"Like, yo, she's out of it, my man," Hardy tells the 911 operator. "And she will not stop coming at me, bro."

In another call, apparently made from the security desk of Hardy's building, a woman who claims to have attended the gathering at Hardy's home yells that a woman had been beaten there for more than 30 minutes.

"We need the police here now before this girl gets seriously hurt. Now!" she said.

Wednesday morning Judge Tin said Holder's injuries and the nature of the allegations against Hardy "raise concerns" about Holder's safety.

Arrest warrants accuse Hardy of throwing the 24-year-old Holder to the floor and into a bathtub, slamming her against a futon and "strangling" her during an argument at his home.

Hardy also said he would kill her, the warrant stated, a threat "made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out."

(c)2014 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

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