Man who owned apartment where dermatologist mom died is sentenced to five years

By Elaine Aradillas
May 13, 2017 09:57 AM
Credit: Facebook

A man was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday after a New York dermatologist died of cocaine and alcohol intoxication at his apartment building in 2015.

James Holder pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug distribution house, according to court documents. His attorney did not return a call for comment.

On Oct. 4, 2015, Dr. Kiersten Cerveny, a 38-year-old mother-of-three from Long Island, New York, was found unconscious in the lobby of Holder’s Manhattan building after she overdosed inside his apartment.

Earlier in the evening, Marc Henry Johnson, 52, and Cerveny allegedly spent the night in various New York City bars drinking cocktails and snorting cocaine, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson tells PEOPLE. After visiting Holder’s apartment building, Johnson admitted dragging Cerveny’s body into the hallway, the spokesperson says.

“Marc Henry Johnson’s immediate response to seeing a dying overdose victim should have been to summon help,” U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a Department of Justice statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Instead, Johnson helped his cocaine dealer cover up the drug crime by moving the victim’s body.”

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Johnson, a producer for the pilot episode of HBO’s series The Deuce, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact. He is still waiting to be sentenced.

Deuce creator David Simon previously told Variety that reports surrounding Johnson’s involvement had been “amorphous, inconsistent and contradictory.” But, “all that said, it is a tragedy for this woman and her family.”

Last week, in front of a federal court judge, prosecutor Daniel Abramowicz said “it was James Holder who provided that place” and if he hadn’t given Cerveny cocaine, she “could have lived to see another day.”

Holder’s attorney argued that Holder should not be sentenced to more than six years in prison or be required to pay restitution to Cerveny’s estate.

“She was a victim of her own poor choices, she was a victim of decisions she made,” said Matthew Kluger, Holder’s attorney. “But to state that she was a victim of Mr. Holder’s apartment … I don’t see the proximate cause.”