Holley takes stand in second day of trial

Defendant and former Kent State football player Nate Holley gives his testimony during day two of the Ohio v. Nathan Holley trial at the Portage County Municipal Courthouse in Ravenna, Ohio, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

Henry Palattella

Day two of former Kent State football player Nate Holley’s trial took place Tuesday in the Portage County Municipal Courthouse. Holley took the stand, along with the alleged victim, Ceara Tackett during the series of day-long testimonies.

Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eric Finnegan called Tackett to the stand to ask about her relationship with Holley.

Tackett said she met Holley during sophomore year at Kent State. She and Holley had a year-long friendship before dating, she said. The two reportedly dated for three or four months before Holley broke up with her, but still continued to talk.

Finnegan asked Tackett about the relationship on the night of Nov. 2, to which she said that they were not together.

Tackett said she spoke to Holley at her apartment earlier in the day. She told him that her plans for the night were to stay in and study since she had an exam early in the morning.

Tackett’s plans changed later in the night, however, when she decided to go out. She said Holley proceeded to call her, but she didn’t answer. When she got home, Tackett said she received a phone call from her next-door neighbor who informed her Holley was outside her window.

Holley then allegedly told Tackett that he would wait outside all night until she came out, which led to her going outside to Holley’s car.

Tackett said she told Holley the same things in the car that she did over the phone, so she tried to get out of the car, which led to him driving off — something that Tackett said had happened before.

Holley allegedly drove to a nearby park, where he parked and proceeded to question Tackett about her lying and being out with other guys. Tackett said she tried to exit the car again, but Holley stopped her. He allegedly grabbed her and threw her around the front of the car and hit her eye off of the driver’s side window then her head hit the passenger side window. Tackett said she then tried to put her foot on the brake pedal, but Holley put his hands around her neck in an attempt to stop her.

Tackett said the two drove back to Holley’s apartment complex and she tried to run away, but was stopped when he grabbed her and threw her over his shoulder.

Tackett said she attempted to punch Holley, but he slapped her hand away and hit her in the head with his palm, which caused her to hit her head off his front door.

Holley took her inside to give her ice, but didn’t allow her to look at the bruise before he drove her home, Tackett said. She woke up the following morning for an early class, but ended up vomiting. Tackett said that after being persuaded by friends, she went to the health center later that day. She was diagnosed with a concussion.

Tackett was cross-examined by Defense Attorney George Keith, who began by asking questions about the timeline of Holley and Tackett’s relationship.

Keith asked Tackett if there was any chance that she would have grabbed the steering wheel to Holley’s car and stepped on the gas when she went to hit the brake, something that she said could have been plausible.

Keith also brought up the fact that Tackett broke the court-ordered, non-contact order with Holley through a series of texts.

Tackett then said that her no-contact order was first broken when one of Holley’s teammates appeared at her apartment with items from earlier in their relationship.

It was at this point that the prosecution tried to have the charges dropped —  something that Portage County Court Judge Laurie Pittman denied.

The next two witnesses to take the stand claimed to have seen Holley and Tackett together in the parking lot of Holley’s apartment complex early in the morning of Nov. 3. They said they saw Holley and Tackett in the parking lot and that the duo’s behavior appeared “flirtatious” — no signs of a struggle were visible.

Holley took the stand following the witnesses’ testimonies. He spoke about Tackett herself, described their initial meeting, friendship and eventual relationship. Holley then said they hit it off after that but that she broke his trust first when he found out that she had saved the name of her ex-boyfriend in her phone under a different name.

Holley and Tackett eventually started dating in September 2015, but broke up in January 2016, which was a decision that Holley put on himself, citing an incident where Tackett was drinking alcohol on campus.

Holley said he started Nov. 2 off by showing up at Tackett’s apartment where she told him that she was going to stay in that night. Holley was then going through Snapchat stories later that night and saw her at Panini’s drinking. Holley then called Tackett, who invited him over to her apartment. Holley made it to her apartment, where she hung up on him, which made Holley want to leave, but he got three quarters of the way home before deciding to go back to Tackett’s apartment.

Holley then threw a water bottle at Tackett’s window in an attempt to get her attention. He said Tackett got into his car without incident and they stopped at Chase Park.

Holley said Tackett wanted to go back to her apartment and she then tried to get out of the moving car, so Holley reached across and grabbed her, which led to her hitting her head off both side windows. He said Tackett also tried to grab the steering wheel and stomp on the gas pedal. He also grabbed her keys and phone, knowing that she would not want to leave the car without those

The pair eventually made it back to Holley’s apartment, where he said that Tackett started to walk away from him so he got her in a bear hug and started walking to his apartment with her, where she then slapped him. Holley said he gave her some ice and they stayed in his apartment for about 10 minutes before he took her back to her apartment.  

The state concluded Wednesday’s trial by asking if the jury could rule on lesser-included charges — abduction, unlawful restraint and simple assault Pittman said this would be resolved on Thursday.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected].