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911 recordings give conflicting accounts in case against Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy

By Michael Gordon, Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones
mgordon@charlotteobserver.com jperson@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/14/11/55/xgVPh.Em.138.jpeg|316
    -
    Nicole Holder with Greg Hardy from her Facebook page in Janurary.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/14/16/14/fPKMT.Em.138.jpg|316
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy had bond set at $15,000 for assault and $2,000 for threats. Hardy was also told he can't contact the accuser and he must attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/14/12/15/1aHlIp.Em.138.jpeg|289
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Carolina Panther Greg Hardy exits the Mecklenburg County jail after his bond was set at $15,000 for assault and $2,000 for threats. Hardy was also told he can't contact the accuser and he must attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/14/12/15/t9nU6.Em.138.jpeg|411
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Carolina Panther Greg Hardy exits the Mecklenburg County jail after his bond was set at $15,000 for assault and $2,000 for threats. Hardy was also told he canÕt contact the accuser and he must attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/14/12/15/cZ0N0.Em.138.jpeg|177
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Carolina Panther' Greg Hardy had bond set at $15,000 for assault and $2,000 for threats. Hardy also told he can't contact the accuser and he must attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week.

The spectacle surrounding Greg Hardy’s domestic violence arrest mushroomed Wednesday, with his girlfriend claiming in court records that the Carolina Panthers star defensive end threw her on a couch covered in firearms and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone about their fight.

Wednesday afternoon, Panthers fans and a national audience began listening to a series of 911 tapes connected to the case. In one, a heavily breathing Hardy describes girlfriend Nicole 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 in the player’s condo 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 in a Mecklenburg County courtroom, District Court Judge Becky Thorne Tin said Holder’s injuries and the nature of the allegations against Hardy “raise concerns” about Holder’s safety.

The Pro Bowl lineman was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of assaulting a female and communicating threats. He was released on $17,000 bond.

Hardy, 25, trading in his orange inmate jumpsuit for sunglasses, a black tank top and Panther sweatpants, did not talk to reporters waiting outside the jail. His attorney, Chris Fialko of Charlotte, says the charges against his client are unfounded.

A league source said the Panthers, who are scheduled to pay Hardy $13.1 million for the coming season, met with the player and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on Wednesday to discuss the arrest. Rosenhaus, who attended Hardy’s court hearing, declined comment as he left the courthouse.

Earlier that day, while Hardy was still in jail, his team dealt with the irony of hosting a domestic violence awareness rally in the very stadium in which Hardy has starred.

Arrest warrants accuse the 6-foot-4, 290-pound 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.”

Fialko, however, told Tin that Holder attacked Hardy and his friend and assistant, Sammy Curtis, and that his client called 911 when Holder refused to leave his home.

He said that after the fight, Holder called Curtis more than a dozen times Tuesday trying to reach the player.

The dueling versions of events don’t explain what ignited the predawn confrontation.

But in a complaint accompanying her request for a restraining order against Hardy, Holder added compelling details to her version of the fight. They include allegations that an enraged Hardy choked her with both hands and threatened to kill her.

At one point during their struggle, she said in her complaint that Hardy picked her up and threw her into a tub, then dragged her across the floor by her hair. As Hardy screamed threats, Holder said he lifted her over his head and threw her on a couch “covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns.”

She said Hardy keeps a cache of 25-30 “AK-47s, automatic-looking weapons, shotguns, rifles and pistols” in his North Tryon condo and a former residence.

Holder said Hardy threatened to shoot her if “I went to the media or reported his assaults to anyone,” according to her complaint.

“I begged them to let me go and I wouldn’t tell anyone what he did,” she wrote. “They took me out into the hall, pushed me down and went back inside his apartment.”

When police arrived, Holder said she met them while crawling to the elevator.

Champagne then AA

Alcohol may have been a factor in the fight, which broke out during an early morning “after party” at Hardy’s uptown residence.

Tin noted that both Hardy and Holder were intoxicated when police arrived.

An Instagram post by Curtis appears to show that Hardy spent part of Monday night at Bubble, a champagne lounge and nightclub in the EpiCentre, the uptown complex where Holder works as a waitress. The club is about two blocks from Hardy’s residence.

In February 2013, Holder was convicted of DWI. Her license was suspended and she was fined $100 plus court costs, and ordered to serve 20 hours’ community service.

During Hardy’s bond hearing, Judge Tin ordered the NFL player to attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week until his next court date on June 27.

She then warned Hardy not to have any contact with Holder, even if she called.

“Do you understand?” the judge asked Hardy, who stood with his hands clasped behind him.

“Yes, ma’am,” he responded quietly.

Weapons at home

Holder did not attend the hearing, but she appeared in the corridor outside the courtroom afterward with a woman later identified as a sister. She was wearing a dress, large sunglasses and had her arm in a sling. Her attorney, Stephen Goodwin of Matthews, said Holder was “torn up” about the incident and was in no condition to talk.

He said Holder had been injured “head to toe” and had gone to the emergency room afterward. Her worst injury, he said, had been to an elbow.

“My client was not the aggressor by a long shot,” Goodwin said after the hearing. “She weighs less than 120 pounds. ... It was a fight. He threw her around the room.”

Even before his first known arrest, Hardy’s off-the-field behavior already has troubled the Panthers, who are in the midst of deciding whether to offer the player tens of millions of dollars over a multiyear contract.

Carolina selected him in the 2010 draft after Hardy fell down other teams’ draft boards because of questions about his character. At the University of Mississippi, he was suspended for missing team meetings and violating team rules.

Now, his legal problems could grow. On Thursday afternoon, a judge will hear Holder’s request for a restraining order. She wants Hardy barred from her home, from the EpiCentre where she works, and from her parents’ residence in an adjoining county.

She also wants the courts to block Hardy from buying more weapons and seize the ones he has.

North Carolina law requires permits for handgun purchases, which are good for five years. Buyers can obtain up to three permits with a single application. Each permit is good for one handgun or up to five long guns.

In her complaint, Holder says some of Hardy’s guns have permits and some do not.

Police did not mention any guns in their report or on the arrest warrants. A department spokesman did not respond to an emailed question on whether police will be investigating the claims about Hardy’s weapons. Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Gordon: 704-358-5095
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