Drug homicide sentence passed

Judge gives Port Townsend man over five years

PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Townsend man was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Thursday for the controlled substances homicide of a musician in March 2019.

Adam Michael Kelly, 38, was sentenced Thursday after signing an Alford plea earlier this month, saying he does not admit guilt but that the state has enough evidence to convict him of controlled substances homicide resulting in the death of Port Townsend musician Jarrod Bramson.

“He was my best friend,” said Bramson’s daughter, Ana, at the sentencing hearing. “You deserve to never see daylight or the stars ever again.”

Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper sentenced Kelly to 68 months — 5 years and 6 months in prison — which was the top of the standard range of 51-68 months.

Kelly also will be fined $600 and may be required to pay restitution, which will be decided at a January hearing.

Controlled substances homicide is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Kelly provided the lethal dose of heroin that led to the death of Bramson, a 43-year-old musician.

Christopher Ashcraft, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, recommended Harper sentence Kelly to the top end of the standard range at 68 months imprisonment with no community custody and that three counts of drug possession be dropped.

Harper accepted that recommendation at the end of the sentencing hearing, after he listened to seven of Bramson’s family members, including his wife and daughters, as well as a close friend.

About 50 people attended the sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon.

Bramson — half of the music duo The Solvents along with his wife, Emily Madden — was found unresponsive in the passenger side of his running vehicle near the ambulance bay at Jefferson Healthcare hospital, according to testimony given at an October 2019 hearing.

Efforts to revive Bramson were unsuccessful.

A phone call to the emergency department that alerted nurses to Bramson being in the parking lot was linked through police records from a previous call to Kelly’s residence.

Kelly and a woman were seen on hospital surveillance video walking away from the car and toward Sheridan Street in the direction of 12th Street, police said.

All eight statements made at the hearing were passionate, with the speakers calling Kelly a “murderer,” saying the homicide was premeditated and calling for him to be sentenced to the maximum 10 years.

More than that, the statements focused on the person Bramson was and what he meant to them as a son, a husband, a father and a friend.

“You killed my husband, Adam Kelly,” Emily Madden said in her statement.

“You chose your drug lab over his life.”

Statements said Bramson was never a drug user before the incident.

“My life will forever be changed because of you, Adam,” Ana said. “Our pain has not subdued, we’ve just gotten used to it.”

Forty-five letters were submitted to Harper on Wednesday afternoon, all describing the impact Bramson had on the Port Townsend and music communities, with 30 of them explicitly asking Harper to give Kelly the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while the remaining 15 asked for justice for Bramson.

“I believe Adam Kelly deserves the longest sentence possible because he brought so much heartache and damage to this community,” said Heidi Tucker, longtime friend of Bramson, in her letter.

“As a friend of Jarrod’s for the last 25 years, I know him as a loving and supportive friend, the proudest father and most loyal husband, as well as an active and highly regarded member of this community and beyond through music and social justice. His death was and continues to be devastating to his family, friends and larger community.”

Five letters in support of Kelly were submitted from his friends and family. None said Kelly should be let off, but they emphasized that, if there is a way for him to rehabilitate while confined, that he be allowed to follow that path.

“I am hopeful that the time that Adam has been incarcerated has given him the clarity to see that the actions he takes can have a lasting impact on people both close to him and several that he may not even know personally,” said the letter written by Colleen Hughes, Kelly’s youngest sister.

“To me the goal of incarcerating someone is to protect the public, punish those that have done wrong and ultimately rehabilitate people so that they can reenter society and contribute.”

Now that the state sentencing has concluded, the federal courts plan to charge Kelly with “drug and gun” related charges, said Emily Langlie, communications director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Defense attorney Richard Davies of Jefferson County Associated Counsel said Kelly plans to plead guilty to the federal charges.

Usually the charges would’ve been filed already, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities decided to hold off until Kelly’s case was finished at the state level so he would not be moving between court systems and possibly exposing other people or himself to COVID-19, Langlie said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 360-385-2335, ext. 5.

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