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Judge sets $3 million bond for man charged in Ledyard homicide

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New London — A judge in New London set a $3 million bond Friday for the 34-year-old former New London man charged with murder in the shooting death of a Ledyard man.

Judge Edward O’Hanlan presided over a video arraignment for Steward Holeman in New London Superior Court. In setting the steep bond amount, O’Hanlan cited the severity of the charges, the potential risk to the public, a strong case for the prosecution and the fact that Holeman is a flight risk.

Holeman is charged with murder, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit in connection with the Nov. 2 shooting death of 27-year-old Malik Nunn.

Nunn was shot in the head following a confrontation on Robin Lane in Ledyard, outside the home of Nunn’s girlfriend, who was Holeman’s former girlfriend, police said.

Police arrived to find Nunn lying face down in a pool of blood on the side of the street. A woman was kneeling over Nunn, screaming and crying.

“It was Steward! It was Steward! Steward Holeman. His sister Brianna Drayton was driving,” Tina Ragland had yelled, according to the police warrant affidavit in the case.

Police later learned Nunn and Ragland had dated for three years and have a child. Nunn went to prison in January 2021 and during his incarceration, Ragland told police, she started a relationship with Holeman. Holeman was living with Ragland on and off until September 2021, when Nunn had moved back in with her.

Nunn was home when Drayton arrived with Holeman and Ragland’s 16-year-old daughter. The teen had gotten a ride home from a friend’s house.

Ragland told police that Nunn was leaving when Holeman approached him in the driveway. Witnesses said the two exchanged words.

“Tina Ragland stated that Holeman pointed the gun at Nunn with his left hand and fired one shot without saying anything further and that the bullet struck Nunn in the head,” police said.

Ledyard police obtained a warrant for Holeman’s arrest shortly after the shooting. Holeman was arrested in Georgia on Jan. 5 and extradited to Connecticut this week.

On Friday, Holeman’s aunt sat in the corner of the second-floor courtroom with a friend, waving and trying to get into a position to catch a glimpse of Holeman on a video monitor. Prisoners being arraigned in New London Superior Court are held in one part of the courthouse and speak to the judge via a video link.

“It’s your aunt Jackie,” Jacquenetta Fussell, Holeman’s aunt, called out to Holeman’s image on the video screen.

Fussell, after the arraignment, said she wanted to ensure Holeman knows he has support.

She did not yet know the details of the case but thought the way the arraignment was held, with Holeman appearing to be behind a cage, was not an image the court should be allowed to present to the public.

“Right is right. Wrong is wrong. But people are people. They make mistakes. He has a family. He has a support system,” Fussell said. “He has people here for him. People should not judge him based on his appearance.”

Fussell said she is not making excuses for Holeman but noted he had a tough childhood and was raised by grandparents who are now deceased. He also recently became a father.

Bail Commissioner Timothy Gilman said Holeman has a criminal history that includes a first-degree robbery conviction in 2011 out of New Britain Superior Court. He was sentenced at that time to 10½ years in prison followed by 9½ years of special parole. He was sentenced concurrently on a gun possession charge.

Public Defender Matthew Berger argued for a smaller bond, calling Holeman a longtime local resident with local ties.

The case was transferred to Part A court in New London, where serious charges are tried. Holeman is expected to appear back in court on Jan. 26.

g.smith@theday.com

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