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HBO Producer Gets Jail Time For What He Did To Woman After She Overdosed

A television executive is in some serious trouble. The HBO producer is facing a year in jail after admitting he moved a woman’s body from an apartment in October 2015, according to the New York Daily News.

The newspaper reported that Kiersten Cerveny, 38, of Long Island died as a result of a cocaine overdose. She and the TV producer, Marc Henry Johnson, allegedly purchased the illegal substance earlier in the day from James “Pepsi” Holder at the apartment on West 16th Street. Johnson, 53, pleaded guilty to a single count of “accessory after the fact” because he and Holder removed the woman’s body from the home so police would not discover the drug operation. A judge sentenced the 61-year-old Holder, who acknowledged he had used his apartment to sell drugs for almost 10 years, to five years in prison.

Cerveny, who was a well-known dermatologist, is survived by her husband and three children. At his trial, Johnson apologized to the woman’s family and offered his condolences for their loss. He told them some of members of his family also had died from abusing alcohol and crack cocaine. He begged for mercy, asking Manhattan Federal Judge Jesse Furman to “please give me the chance to redeem myself.”

Furman revealed that he had trouble deciding the proper punishment in the case. Though the law allows for a 10-year prison sentence, the defendant’s lawyers argued that Johnson should not spend any time behind bars. The judge chose a one-year term as a compromise, stressing that Johnson was partially responsible for Cerveny’s death. “My guess (is) we would not be sitting here had Mr. Johnson immediately called 911,” Furman said. “For all we know, she could have been saved.”

Johnson claimed he did call for help when Cerveny “turned blue.” However, according to prosecutors, the paramedics left when the producer failed to tell them what had happened. “You made the wrong choice,” Furman said. “I can’t get past the fact that your conduct may have resulted in the tragic death.”

The judge rejected a letter from writer David Simon of “The Wire,” who argued that a jail sentence would deter others from calling 911. He asked Furman “to consider leniency” for Johnson, who he described as an “effective producer, collaborator and employee.” The two men had been working on “The Deuce,” an HBO program.

Simon conceded that Cerveny’s death was a “tragedy” and a huge blow to her friends and family members, but told the judge: “I must nonetheless write to you both in my capacity as Mr. Johnson’s employer and creative collaborator, and also as a journalist and author who spent 15 years in Baltimore covering the drug war specifically. It is in both capacities that I urge you to consider leniency with regard to the defendant.”

On Thursday, Simon issued a statement to the news media, declining comment. “It would be disrespectful of the court and its proceedings,” he explained. “I don’t think it would be responsible of me to be conducting ad lib interviews beyond the precise scope and intention of what I wrote.”

Source: NY Daily News
Photo: NY Daily News

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