Ex-wife: 'I didn't want my children to see me dead'

WENDELL, North Carolina -- "I lost eyesight in one of my eyes, and he was still beating me ... he stood over me and shot me," LaTonya Allen testified during the capital murder trial of her ex-husband Wednesday morning.

Allen was shot and seriously injured on April 9, 2014 at her parent's Wendell home.

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Nathan Holden's defense attorney told the jury during opening statements Tuesday that Holden did indeed shoot Allen and fatally shot Allen's parents, 57-year-old Angelia Smith Taylor and 66-year-old Sylvester Taylor more than two years ago.

Defense Attorney Elizabeth Hambourger said it was not a case of "'who done it,' this is about what happened."

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Allen spent most of Wednesday morning providing background to the jurors about her break-up with her husband in the months that lead up to her parents' murders.

She said the worst of the problems started in January 2014 when she went to the Wake County Courthouse to file for custody of the couple's three children.

She also took out a restraining order against Holden.

Allen said Holden came downtown to confront her and was so angry that she sought refuge in the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

"He's yelling at me," she said. "I'm nervous and he saying, 'I don't know what I'm a do,' he's like, 'I don't know what I'm capable of doing right now.' He's like, 'I ought to punch you right now.' And at that time trying to put my money in and he had his fist, just pressing it up against my face."

Three months later, Holden admitted he went to the home of his estranged wife's parents - where Allen was living - shot and killed her mother and father and then beat and shot Allen.

It all happened while the couple's children were also inside the house.

Allen said she was in her daughters' bedroom when she heard gunshots, her mom screaming, and running.

"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 Tuesday.

Allen testified Wednesday that after that Holden came in the room and pistol-whipped her in the face and hit her in her upper body.

She said she asked Holden to take her out of the room, because she said, "I didn't want my children to see me dead."

Allen's testimony is still underway.

After the shooting, authorities arrested Holden following a standoff near his home hours later.

The couple separated back in December 2013. null
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