By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — Anne Cser was on her way home from work when she got the phone call. It was about 11 p.m. Dec. 8 and the first snow of the season was slowly starting to cover the ground.
Her husband, Christopher, was on the other end. He’d been stabbed by a neighborhood acquaintance, he said. He told her who did it, although Anne didn’t know the man. He asked her to call 9-1-1 and not to come home. Then the call ended.
“My husband was not even bleeding by the time I got there,” said Anne, who works only about three minutes from their Outer Drive bungalow.
But he was still alive. He said that his attacker had “busted” through the back door. He said he loved her and to tell his 8-year-old son he loved him before slipping into unconsciousness. They were the last words he would ever say.
Christopher Cser was pronounced dead on arrival when he was taken to Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center about an hour after he first called Anne. The coroner would later describe many of the 61 punctures throughout the 32-year-old’s body as “torture wounds,” non-fatal wounds inflicted solely to cause pain.
The man police believe to be responsible for the murder was apprehended that night when officers followed footprints in the freshly fallen snow from the Csers’ house to a house a block down Outer Drive.
There they arrested Shannon Maurice Holmes, an ex-con with a lengthy rap sheet. Holmes, 32, was charged with first-degree murder and as a habitual offender with prior felony convictions. He was denied bail and is in police custody awaiting a jury trial scheduled to begin March 1.
Details surrounding the murder have been few, as police have not released the incident reports from that night. But in a recent interview, Anne Cser helped shed some new light on the horrific incident and the relationship between her husband and his alleged murderer.
She said that Christopher and Holmes met through a shared circumstance; neither man was able to drive due to prior drunken driving convictions and occasionally they would run into each other on walks to and from a nearby party store.
They grew to become sometimes drinking buddies, but they didn’t hang out frequently enough for Anne to meet Holmes or know him as anything besides the neighborhood guy her husband met at the store. She said her husband struggled with alcohol abuse, but was a loving family man who looked like he was turning the corner.
“The night before this happened he finally agreed to check himself into rehab and he said, ‘I need help. I’m ready to do it,’” Anne said.
In a previously undisclosed piece of information, Anne said stove burners had been turned on, causing the house to fill with natural gas. She said the gas prevented police from entering the house until firefighters arrived and broke out windows to vent the potentially explosive buildup.
Two months after her husband’s murder, Anne is trying to regain some sense of normalcy while at the same time closely watching Holmes’ legal proceedings. She has moved back into her home after spending some time living with her parents. And in a tragic twist of irony, the hardwood floors in her house were refinished as part of the cleanup – something Christopher promised to do for her in exchange for their first date years ago, but never got around to.
Anne also said prosecutors asked her for her input on a proposed 20-year plea bargain for Holmes, which she rejected because it was too short. She said she is scheduled to go in for further plea discussions Feb. 18 and remains conflicted on the matter.
“I am having a tough time with it because I don’t want a deal,” she said. “But if (Holmes) gets a deal he won’t be able to appeal and (Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans) is known for her light sentences so I just don’t know what to do.”