Doctor: Bullet carved ‘canyon’ in NC woman’s heart

Nathan Holden in the courtroom during his trial. (pool video)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A woman shot in the head and chest, who survived an attack that killed her parents, had a bullet carve a “canyon” in the top of her heart, the doctor who operated on her said Tuesday.

“It was nothing short of a miracle that she survived,” said Dr. Bryon Boulton, a cardiovascular surgeon. Had the bullet penetrated the heart, instead of nicking it, she would have died, he said.

His remarks came during the Wake County murder trial of Nathan Holden, who was the victim’s estranged husband at the time of the attack.

LaTonya Taylor Allen was shot in the heart and the face as her children hid in a nearby closet. Holden’s defense hasn’t disputed that he committed the attack, but has focused on his distraught state of mind at the time. The killings, they assert, were not first-degree murder, which requires premeditation.

Other testimony on Tuesday covered DNA evidence, latent fingerprints and firearm analysis.

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