Defense highlight’s Wake double murderer’s troubled childhood

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

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Defense attorneys working to spare Nathan Holden from a death sentence for a 2014 Wendell double murder emphasized his traumatic childhood on Wednesday.

A jury already convicted him of first-degree murder, and now the jury must weigh whether to impose the death penalty.

Instead, his attorneys argued, he should be sentenced to life in prison for the slayings of his in-laws and the attempted murder of his estranged wife.


Dr. John Blackshear, a clinical psychologist, testified that the domestic violence between Holden’s alcoholic mother and his abusive father impacted Holden.

“Nate’s trauma’s are a cluster of traumas that he experienced across his life,” he said.

He added, “It was frequent. It was regular. It was bloody. It was violent. It resulted in people’s faces being disfigured — his mother’s face disfigured, his dad being attacked. Growing up in an environment like that Leaves you very uncertain and incapable of of growing into a person who can break the cycle.”

Holden’s aunt testified he had difficulty dealing with his mother’s worsening alcoholism.

“It was hard on him,” Bertha Postley, the aunt said. “It was really hard.”

Even if Holden receives a death sentence, it’s unclear when or if he’ll be killed. The state hasn’t executed anyone since 2006 as the result of a moratorium.

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