April 7, 2008

Carjack Defendants Near Court Dates: Three Charged in Death of Keys Server

By Kevin Wadlow, Florida Keys Keynoter, Marathon

Apr. 5--The cases of three defendants in the carjacking death of Ocean Reef restaurant worker Missi Holderman have been placed on the May court docket in Miami-Dade County.

Howard Water, 18, faces a long list of charges, said a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, including first-degree murder, two counts of armed carjacking, conspiracy to commit a carjacking and resisting arrest without violence.

Two younger defendants, Sean Eric Johnson and Cleveland Bell, both 16, face reduced charges of conspiracy to commit carjacking and robbery, according to court records available at press time.

When arrested in the wake of a horrific Dec. 7, 2007, crash on U.S. 1 south of Florida City, Johnson and Bell also faced murder and carjacking charges.

Reasons for the apparent reduction in charges were not immediately available, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Holderman, 27, a Homestead native and single mother of two, was asleep in the back seat of a co-worker's car when the vehicle was stolen at gunpoint at the Gateway Shell gas station in Florida City. She had worked at Ocean Reef for about a year.

When carjacker Willie Cade saw that a Florida City policeman witnessed the crime, Cade drove the 2007 Toyota south on U.S. 1 toward the Keys.

Water (originally identified as Waters in initial reports), Johnson and Bell were in a stolen car that dropped Cade off at the gas station.

According to police, Cade reached speeds of more than 100 mph during the chase. At a construction site near mile marker 114, the Toyota went out of control and crashed head-on into a northbound truck. Both vehicles burst into flames. The truck driver escaped, but Holderman and Cade died.

The trials could be delayed if additional motions were filed before the May 5 scheduled court date, which often occurs in major cases.

A benefit was held in Homestead last week to raise money for a trust fund for Holderman's two daughters, ages 10 and 8.


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