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HBO Producer Arrested in Chelsea Overdose Death of Long Island Doctor

By  Kathleen Culliton and Trevor Kapp | May 25, 2016 11:37am | Updated on May 25, 2016 6:49pm

 James 'Pepsi' Holder and Marc Henry Johnson were arrested in connection to Kiersten Cerveny's death by an overdose in 2015 .
Kiersten Cerveny Case
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MANHATTAN — An HBO producer was arrested Tuesday night in connection to the overdose death of a Long Island dermatologist after a night of partying with the television exec, authorities said.

Dr. Kiersten Cerveny, 38, was found unconscious and half-naked in the doorway of 223 W. 16 Street on Oct. 4, 2015 after spending the evening with producer Marc Henry Johnson, 51, and his cocaine dealer James “Pepsi” Holder, 60, the NYPD said.

She was pronounced dead at Lenox Health Hospital later that morning. The cause was determined to be a cocaine overdose, authorities said.

Cerveny, who lived in Manhasset with her husband and three children, met up with Johnson while out with some friends and accompanied him to Holder's apartment on W. 16th Street just before 4:30 a.m., according to sources and prosecutors.

Holder — who prosecutors said dealt coke to an extensive customer base in Manhattan — was caught on surveillance camera three hours later with Johnson dragging Cerveny’s unconscious body toward the entryway where she was later found, according to the complaint. 

Johnson, who recently produced a pilot for “The Deuce,” a television show about the porn industry that will star James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, was arrested Tuesday night as was Holder.

Johnson was released Wednesday after posting a $300,000 bail.

He and Holder were arraigned in Manhattan at the Seventh District Federal Court. Both are accused of trying to cover up a crime and of possession of narcotics. Holder, who was not released, is also accused of distribution of narcotics.

“[Johnson] has felt awful from the moment that he became involved in the situation," said the producer's lawyer Lee Ginsberg. 

A preliminary hearing was set for June 24. 

NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a press conference on Wednesday that he would explore options to hold dealers accountable for fatal overdoses, even when the victim took the drugs willingly. 

“We may need to start taking a very close look at if we can make the link to if the drugs they sold contributed to the death of an individual," Bratton said. "We need to do something about this growing epidemic.”