A Manhattan federal judge last Thursday delayed the sentencing of a drug dealer accused of moving from his apartment the body of a Manhasset dermatologist who had overdosed, Newsday reported.
James “Pepsi” Holder admitted in court to keeping and selling cocaine between 2005 and 2015 in his Manhattan apartment in the building where Kiersten Cerveny, who lived in Manhasset and practiced in Williston Park, was found dead in a vestibule in October 2015.
Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 6 1/2 years for Holder’s dealing drugs from the apartment.
The sentencing delay on Thursday in the New York Southern District courtroom of Judge Jesse M. Furman came after a disagreement over whether Cerveny was legally a “victim” entitled to restitution, a Newsday report said.
Defense attorney Matthew J. Kluger said Holder pleaded guilty only to maintaining a drug-involved premises, not giving Cerveny the drugs that killed her, according to Newsday.
Kluger is seeking a shorter sentence of four years.
“People can’t use cocaine just anywhere,” the prosecutor reportedly said. “ . . . It was James Holder who provided that place” and if he hadn’t Cerveny “could have lived to see another day.”
In March, television producer Marc Henry Johnson pleaded guilty to acting as an accessory to a narcotics crime, admitting that he moved the 38-year-old Cerveny.
Prosecutors allege that Holder collaborated with Johnson in carrying Cerveny out of Holder’s apartment and left her in the building’s vestibule.
Cerveny had been partying with Johnson on the night of Oct. 3, 2015, before they went to Holder’s apartment together at 4:25 a.m. on Oct. 4, prosecutors said.
Cerveny became unresponsive and the pair dragged her into the apartment building’s vestibule before Johnson called 911, prosecutors said. Medical examiners found her death was caused in part by a cocaine overdose.
Furman asked both sides to submit briefs on the question of whether Cerveny is a “victim” before he sentences Holder, and rescheduled the sentencing to May 11, Newsday reported.