Domestic violence charges against Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were dismissed Monday morning because his accuser did not show up for court. Hardy was convicted of misdemeanor assault and threatening charges in a bench trial last summer against his former girlfriend Nicole Holder. He was appealing that conviction in today’s jury trial.
During Monday’s trial, District Attorney Andrew Murray said Holder told him in November that she didn’t want another trial and she’s been elusive to prosecutors ever since.
He said his office went to great lengths to serve her with a subpoena to testify against Hardy. He said they contacted Holder’s relatives, employer, her attorney, visited her last known residence and with the assistance of law enforcement officials, conducted a surveillance of a new address, where they believed she was living--All to no avail.
Murray told the judge it appeared that Holder had intentionally made herself unavailable.
"The state has determined it will not be just or appropriate to go forward with a jury trial without the testimony of Ms. Holder,” Murray said. “The state is compelled to dismiss the criminal charges against Mr. Hardy.”
Murray said in some domestic violence cases, trials are conducted without victims’ testimony when there is other evidence they can use. But in this case, Murray says Holder’s testimony was the primary evidence. Also, he said he learned from a “reliable source” that a civil settlement had been reached between Holder and Hardy, directly related to the alleged assault on May 13.
Wearing a suit and white tennis shoes, Hardy looked straight ahead leaving the courtroom as the press surrounded him, yelling questions about the trial and his future in the NFL.
“No comment,” Hardy said repeatedly to all questions.
Hardy is considered one of the NFL’s top defensive ends, with 15 sacks in 2013. He was convicted in a bench trial in July of assaulting and threatening Holder. She testified in that trial that Hardy dragged her by her hair from a bath tub and threw her on a futon covered with guns.
Hardy played in the Panther’s first game this season but after Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice video surfaced, showing him beating his fiancé, Hardy was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. He still received his more than $13 million salary.
Hardy’s future with the Panthers is unclear. He is poised to be a free agent in March but his future with the NFL is still unresolved, considering the league’s tougher personal conduct policy. An NFL spokesman says the league is still reviewing the matter.