Cellphone data, surveillance video and a fingerprint on a bottle of Sprite led authorities to link a 25-year-old man to the murder of a taxi driver and an armed robbery at a store of Far South Side last month, according to prosecutors.
Cook County Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered the detention without bond of Isaiah Holliday, 25, in both cases during a hearing Thursday at the Leighton courthouse.
The fatal shooting of taxi driver Jeffery Berner on January 5 was recorded by a private surveillance camera when the taxi he was driving stopped in the 600 block of West 95th Street, the assistant state’s attorney said. , James Murphy, to the judge.
After stopping about six blocks from a Red Line station where Holliday had asked to be dropped off, video showed the taxi “rocking” with a commotion followed by two gunshots as Berner was trying to get out of the cab, Murphy said.
Holliday, who was wearing distinctive Nike shoes and a black jacket with shiny sleeves, was recorded stepping out of the back of the cabin and approaching the driver’s side door to pass Berner’s pockets twice before fleeing, Murphy said.
A driver who banged on the open driver’s side door of Berners’ taxi called police, who found the 65-year-old unresponsive with two gunshot wounds to the abdomen, officials said. Berner was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, but later died.
Investigators learned that Holliday ordered the cab to pick him up from a motel in Calumet Park, where he checked into another nearby motel under his own name, Murphy said. A surveillance camera at the hotel reportedly recorded Holliday checking in and later getting into Berner’s cab.
On Jan. 19, Holliday, wearing the same shoes and jacket, walked into a store on the 11,000 block of South Michigan Avenue, grabbed a Sprite from a display case, and brought it to the counter clerk, Murphy said.
When the clerk rang the glass and opened the ledger, Holliday held her at gunpoint and stole $300, Murphy said.
Holliday was arrested nearby but was no longer wearing the jacket, Murphy said. Because he was allegedly wearing a mask during the robbery, the clerk could not identify him and he was released.
The jacket was later found by investigators, which contained Holliday’s LINK card and cellphone, Murphy said. Cellphone data showed Holliday’s movement on the day of the murder and matched GPS data from Berner’s taxi as he drove Holliday to the CTA station, Murphy said.
A fingerprint on the Sprite bottle left on the store counter was later linked to Holliday after it was tested at the Illinois State Police crime lab, Murphy said.
Facebook posts Holliday exchanged with another person also showed him talking about the robbery, during which he mentioned he was okay with losing his gun because it “had a body on top of it.” anyway,” Murphy said.
Holliday was arrested this week and charged with first degree murder and armed robbery.
Holliday was previously convicted on a drug charge to which he pleaded guilty in 2019, records show.
Holliday lives with his girlfriend and their young son and works for his brother’s record label, an assistant public defender said.
Holliday was due back in court on both counts on February 24.