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Request For Restraining Order Against Panthers’ Greg Hardy Dismissed, But He Must Surrender Firearms

Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte Observer

A request for a temporary restraining order against Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was dismissed by Judge Charlotte Brown on Thursday when his accuser failed to appear at a civil hearing in Charlotte.

But a short time later, Judge Becky Thorne Tin, the judge who presided over Hardy’s bond hearing Wednesday on two misdemeanor charges, amended the conditions of the bond, requiring Hardy to turn over all of his weapons and firearms.

That is part of what Nicole Holder, 24, had requested in the restraining order she had sought against the Carolina Panthers’ All-Pro defensive end. She also wanted him barred from her home, the uptown complex where she works, and the home of her parents in an adjacent county.

Holder’s attorney, Stephen Goodwin, was present at Thursday’s hearing, but Holder was not.

Goodwin said Holder would no longer be his client, by their joint decision. He cited irreconcilable differences with Holder as the reason, and wouldn’t say if Holder had retained other counsel.

Goodwin said this is the first time since 1996 he has withdrawn from representing a client.

The criminal case against Hardy, regarding the two misdemeanors including assault on a female, will continue. Goodwin would not say where Holder stands regarding the criminal case.

Hardy was not present at the hearing in front of Brown.

Holder, who says she has been in a relationship with the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hardy since September, filed for the retraining order Wednesday, one day after arrest warrants say Hardy assaulted her and threatened to kill her.

According to Holder’s protective order complaint, released Thursday, she stated that Hardy was angry with her because of a short-lived relationship with the rapper Nelly, who is a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

She stated in the court documents that she and Hardy had been trying to work things out and that she and Hardy were in bed together early Tuesday morning when Hardy “just snapped.”

Holder, a waitress at an EpiCentre restaurant uptown, had also asked the court to block Hardy from buying more weapons and seize the ones he has. In court documents, she states that Hardy has “25 to 30” firearms at his two Charlotte residences.

Hardy was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of assaulting a female and communicating threats. He was released on $17,000 bond Wednesday after a short court hearing in which he was ordered to stay away from Holder and attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week.

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

Hardy’s attorney, Chris Fialko of Charlotte, said his client is innocent, and that Holder set off the Tuesday morning fracas in Hardy’s uptown condo by attacking the player and a friend, Sammy Curtis.

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 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 in a Mecklenburg County courtroom, District Court 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.”

At one point during their struggle, she said in her complaint, 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.

Police did not mention guns in either of the arrest warrants. 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.

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.