Weeks after prosecutors dropped murder case against him, man’s accused of grabbing teen girl on NW Side

Last month, Joshua Holt got some very good news in court.

Joshua Holt in 2016 | CPD

Prosecutors were dropping two counts of first degree murder that he faced in connection with the 2012 strangulation death of a woman in Edgewater.

Yesterday afternoon, police arrested Holt on the Northwest Side after a 17-year-old girl said he grabbed her and tried to take her away while ordering her to “come with me,” according to a police spokesperson and court records.

Prosecutors charged Holt, 30, with one count of misdemeanor battery and he went home on his own recognizance.

DNA “insufficient”

Around 7 a.m. on May 12, 2012, the dead, partly-clothed body of 34-year-old Denise Ayers was found in the alley behind 5625 North Broadway on the city’s North Side. She was strangulated, the medical examiner would later say. Her death was ruled a homicide.

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A man told police that he was talking with Ayers around 3 a.m. when Holt approached and then walked away with Ayers. It was the last time Ayers was seen alive, police alleged.

Holt denied having sex with her and said she tried to pick him up on the day she died, but he declined her offer. 

Laboratory tests later determined that DNA recovered from Ayers’ mouth, vagina, anus, and fingernails belonged to Holt, according to a CPD report. Prosecutors charged Holt with the murder on Dec. 1, 2016.

Holt remained in jail on $900,000 bail until Jan. 9. In court that day, the state dropped all charges against him.

A spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney today told CWBChicago that Holt’s prosecution was hampered by a 2017 Illinois Appellate Court ruling “that impacted the DNA evidence in this case.”

“After a review, it was determined that the remaining evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to move forward with the prosecution of this case.”

“Come with me”

Yesterday afternoon, less than two months after he got out of jail, Holt allegedly grabbed a teenage girl as she walked near Oak Park Avenue and Higgins Road in the Norwood Park neighborhood.

“Come with me,” he allegedly told the girl as he tried to lead her away by the arm around 1:55 p.m.

But the girl said she broke from his grasp and caught the attention of a passing patrol car. The officer arrested Holt moments later on the 5400 block of North Oak Park.

He was released from police custody without appearing before a judge because misdemeanor battery cases are automatically assigned a recognizance bond under Illinois court rules.

Holt is due back in court on Apr. 7.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com