Eight months after a Long Island dermatologist was found dead in a Chelsea building's vestibule, the federal authorities have charged two men who allegedly put her body there after giving her drugs that led to a fatal overdose. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, "Drugs destroy lives and communities. The charges unsealed today against James Holder and Marc Henry Johnson are a reminder of that. And the work of the DEA, NYPD, and State Police in this investigation is also a reminder of law enforcement’s commitment to stem the distribution of dangerous drugs in our communities."
Marc Johnson (Facebook)
Kiersten Cerveny, a 38-year-old mother of three, had been out with friends in Manhattan last October when she met up with TV producer Johnson, reportedly a friend since 2009. They apparently went to visit Holder, an accused drug dealer. From the U.S. Attorney's press release; "Individual-1" refers to Cerveny while "Pepsi" is Holder's nickname:
HOLDER and JOHNSON are longtime friends. JOHNSON regularly bought cocaine from HOLDER, used cocaine, and provided cocaine to others in social situations. JOHNSON also introduced HOLDER to other individuals as a potential supplier of cocaine. HOLDER then provided cocaine to those individuals in exchange for money, and those individuals, in turn, introduced still more cocaine buyers to HOLDER. During the night of October 3, 2015, and the early morning hours of October 4, 2015, JOHNSON sent text messages saying he “may go to Pepsi for a pickup” “in chelsea,” and later met up with a 38-year-old woman (“Individual-1”) and others at a bar in Manhattan. Individual-1 had been using cocaine before JOHNSON arrived. JOHNSON told Individual-1 and others at the bar that he had a significant amount of cocaine, which he offered to share. Later, JOHNSON and Individual-1 left the bar together in a taxi. They arrived at the Chelsea building where HOLDER lived at approximately 4:25 a.m., and walked upstairs to HOLDER’s apartment. Video surveillance footage shows hours later, JOHNSON and HOLDER dragged Individual-1’s apparently unconscious body into the building’s first-floor vestibule. HOLDER then left the building, carrying an object as he walked away. JOHNSON called 911 to summon an ambulance at approximately 8:30 a.m. He declined to provide his name to the 911 operator, and neither identified Individual-1 nor described his relationship to her, nor did he explain what had happened to her and why she needed medical assistance. Emergency Medical Technicians (“EMTs”) responded and found Individual-1 unresponsive in the Chelsea building’s vestibule. JOHNSON left the building soon after the EMTs arrived.
Holder is also accused of selling drugs until early this year.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, "As alleged, the defendants’ apparent disregard for a victim of this poison is frankly, unimaginable. As alleged, when the defendants realized someone was unresponsive after an apparent overdose, they dragged her body down to a building lobby in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. We will continue to pursue those who pour this poison into our streets with every single judicial tool at our disposal."
Holder is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, while Johnson is charged with one count of attempting to distribute cocaine and one count of acting as an accessory after the fact.