NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, MICH. - A Northville Township woman says she was stripped naked and forced into a closet by a man with a rifle during a burglary at her home last spring.
Candace Holiday testified Friday that she returned home some time after 4 a.m. April 30, after a night of club-hopping, and went into her house to see footprints on the floor — and a masked man, holding a rifle, standing nearby.
"When I looked to the right I saw him," Holiday testified before Judge James Plakas in 35th District Court.
" 'Bitch, get down,' " the man said, according to Holiday.
"I was in shock so I just stood there," Holiday told Meghan Mathews, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor.
The man then fired the rifle toward a staircase to scare her, she said. "I got down," she said.
Holiday identified the man as Deamo L. Lately, who was in the courtroom next to defense attorney Cliff Woodards. Following Holiday's testimony, Plakas ordered Lately, of Detroit, sent to Wayne County Circuit Court on 18 charges, including two counts of armed robbery, two counts of carjacking and one count of unlawful imprisonment.
After she got on the floor, Holiday testified, Lately grabbed her by the hair and forced her upstairs, where, in the master bedroom, was a second masked gunman and a man who was Holiday's boyfriend at the time.
Her boyfriend was on the floor, she later testified.
"Bitch, if you look up, I'm going to kill you," Lately said, according to Holiday.
He then demanded jewelry, asked if she had any guns, and pulled off her clothes, taking her to a closet in another bedroom, putting her inside and blocking it with a bed and other items, she said.
Holiday testified that when she got out of the closet, she found that her two vehicles — a Chevrolet Corvette and a Lexus RX 350 — were gone. Also gone were about 50 pairs of shoes, 30 purses, a bottle with cash in it and a Rolex watch, she said.
Her boyfriend, she said, called police. The incident took place at a house in the area of Five Mile and Bradner.
During cross-examination Friday, Woodards asked if Holiday had been under the influence of alcohol; Holiday said she'd had two drinks, one at each of the strip club's she'd visited over a four-hour span. "I wasn't buzzing or anything," she said.
Woodards also questioned how she was able to identify Lately when her assailant had been wearing a mask.
"I see his eyes and his mouth," she said.
"And that's enough for you to determine who a person is?" Woodards asked.
"Yes," Holiday said.
Woodards also asked how the man was able to take off her clothes while holding a rifle. She didn't seem certain, but speculated that he might have set it down.
"I had on a one-piece outfit. He stripped it off me," she said.
Woodards argued that Plakas should drop the carjacking charges, since Holiday wasn't physically in the vehicles when they were stolen.
"Taking of those keys consists of possession of the vehicle," Mathews, the prosecutor, responded. "She doesn't have to be in possession of the vehicle."
Plakas agreed and ordered Lately bound over on all 18 charges.
In addition to the carjacking and armed robbery counts, Lately is charged with one count each of home invasion, felonious assault, unlawful imprisonment, discharging a gun in or at a building and being a felon in possession of a gun. He also faces nine counts of using a gun during a felony.
Lately is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges in circuit court on Friday. He is being held in the Wayne County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Lately was arrested on Oct. 9 in Detroit; there have been no other arrests and police continue to investigate.
Holiday's Corvette was later recovered.
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