Manhattan federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 6 1/2 to 8 years for a drug dealer accused of moving from his apartment a Manhasset dermatologist who had overdosed, according to a letter they filed in court last Thursday.
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.
“The need to reflect the seriousness of Holder’s offense and promote respect for the law weighs heavily in favor of” the sentence, according to the letter filed with Judge Jesse M. Furman in the Southern District of New York.
Holder “earned a living by feeding others’ addictions” and “the risk of an overdose on the premises was entirely foreseeable,” the letter added.
“Rather than take responsibility when [Cerveny] was in physical distress, Holder acted selfishly,” the letter continued. “He never bothered to get [Cerveny] the medical assistance she obviously needed. Instead, he removed [Cerveny] and her belongings from his apartment so he would not get in trouble.”
An attempt to reach Holder’s attorney, Matthew J. Kluger, was unavailing.
A letter was filed on behalf of Holder last week by Victoria Campbell, of Long Beach, who said she is a longtime friend of his.
“Several times in my adult life as with anyone, I needed someone to talk to and James was that person,” Campbell wrote. “Of course no one is perfect and we all have made mistakes and have regrets but as you are fully aware because of your status as an Honorable Judge of the United States District Court, to know a person for who they really are is very important when making a decision of their fate.”
Holder already faces up to 20 years in prison on the charge of maintaining a drug-involved premises, to which he pleaded guilty in December. He is to be sentenced on Thursday.
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.