Holley trial begins

Henry Palattella

Nate Holley Trial: Day 1 from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

Nearly three months following an arrest and charge of kidnapping, a former Kent State football player appeared in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas on Monday for the first day of trial.

Various attorneys and witnesses outlined the events surrounding Nate Holley, who is being charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault, third-degree intimidation, third-degree intimidation of a crime victim or witness and a fourth-degree charge of menacing by stalking.

Eric Finnegan — the lawyer for the prosecution — told the jury that in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, Holley showed up at the apartment building of his former girlfriend, Kent State senior Ceara Tackett, who will testify later this week.

Holley allegedly threw a water bottle at her window in an attempt to get her attention, which woke up her neighbor. Finnegan said Tackett made her way downstairs and Holley allegedly held her against her will in his car. He then reportedly drove Tackett to a nearby park, where he attempted to talk to her again.

Finnegan said Holley proceeded to grab Tackett’s keys and phone, as well as physically prevented her from leaving the car. Holley allegedly threw Tackett across the front of the car, where she hit her head on both the driver and passenger side windows. He then reportedly took her back to his apartment and slapped her with an open hand, before taking her back to her apartment.

James Eskridge — an attorney for the defense — alleged Holley and Tackett had been dating on and off for some time and had even considered getting married. Eskridge said Holley and Tackett talked earlier on Nov. 2 and had both agreed they would stay in for the night.

However, Holley allegedly saw on social media that Tackett had gone out instead of staying in for the night, which encouraged him to want to end their relationship. Holley then allegedly drove to Tackett’s apartment, where they got in his car to talk about their relationship. Eskridge said Tackett took this news badly and responded by yanking the steering wheel and kicking the gas pedal.

Eskridge also said Tackett reached out to Holley after he was arrested, saying she was “sorry for hurting him with her lies.”

Finnegan later called witness Spencer Duvall, Tackett’s neighbor and coworker, to the stand. Duvall alleged that Holley showed up at their apartment complex between 1 and 2 a.m. on Nov. 3 and was throwing a water bottle at Tackett’s window.

Duvall then called Tackett to let her know that Holley was there and said she saw Holley “circling the building” in his car.

Holley’s other attorney, George Keith, cross-examined Duvall, asking her if she saw Holley physically drive around the whole building, or if it was plausible for him to have left and returned, something that Duvall said could be plausible.

Adel Hanna, a university physician at University Health Services, said Tackett came into the health center Nov. 3 citing dizziness and headaches, both of which she said she sustained through a head injury — an injury she said she received from her ex-boyfriend, who hit her head on a windshield and slapped her with an open hand.

Hanna said when Tackett arrived at the medical center, a bruise was forming over her left eye. He diagnosed her with post-concussion syndrome, which consisted of mild trauma to the brain. He recommended an emergency room visit. He said Tackett went to the medical center the next day for a follow-up, but that he wasn’t there to see her.

Pictures presented to witnesses Trent Springer and James Acklin, both of the Kent Police Department, showed Holley attempted to call Tackett 22 times on the night of the third. On the subsequent cross-examination, Eskridge and Keith pointed out the photos from Tackett’s phone showed no dates and times, only the word “yesterday” next to the contact name. Because of this, it was argued that the texts could have been sent and received at any time.

The trial will resume Wednesday at 8 a.m. Tackett is expected to take the stand, along with Kent State head football coach Paul Haynes.

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