Judge to issue evidence ruling

Judge to issue evidence ruling

Deliberations in case of late Port Townsend musician Jarrod Bramson

PORT TOWNSEND — A Jefferson County judge needs more time to decide whether certain evidence will be admissible in a case that involves the death of a Port Townsend musician.

Superior Court Judge Keith Harper heard nearly five hours of testimony and arguments Thursday during a suppression hearing in the defense of Adam Michael Kelly, 38, who has been charged with controlled substances homicide in addition to several other drug-related offenses.

Harper, who set his decision for Nov. 1, said he read the briefs submitted by both sides of the case but wanted to deliberate before his ruling.

“This is a big case, and a lot of people are interested in it,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m making the right decision.”

Kelly was charged in March after Jarrod Bramson, 43, died of a drug overdose.

Kelly currently has a two-week trial scheduled to begin Dec. 16.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Chris Ashcraft said a lethal dose of heroin was provided at Kelly’s house in the 1400 block of 12th Street in Port Townsend about five blocks away from the hospital.

Controlled substances homicide is a Class B felony, punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

At issue is whether law enforcement officers followed proper procedure as they were investigating Bramson’s death March 27.

Defense attorney Richard Davies argued Port Townsend Police Department officers performed an unconstitutional seizure of Kelly’s home and an illegal protective sweep inside, both of which occurred before a search warrant was signed by District Court Judge Mindy Walker.

“Had they waited, they may have been able to develop probable cause by 1 o’clock the next day,” Davies said in his closing argument, “but they jumped the gun.”

Ashcraft separately called Port Townsend police Sgt. Jason Greenspane and Detective Jon Stuart to the stand, and they testified about how the investigation into Bramson’s death built a case that led them to Kelly’s house.

Ashcraft said the officers’ years of experience and training led them to believe there was evidence inside the house, and that would satisfy state law in terms of seizing it and securing it as officers applied for the warrant.

Greenspane has been with the Port Townsend Police Department since 1995 and Stuart since 2014.

Both law enforcement officers said they entered after the house was seized to make sure nobody else was inside either potentially destroying evidence or to go on an offensive attack.

Greenspane said they had reason to believe Kelly had a firearm with a silencer as well as a protective jacket.

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.

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.

Greenspane and Stuart approached Kelly’s house from the hospital four hours after Bramson’s death at about 12:20 a.m. March 28, and Stuart recorded an interview he had with Kelly outside of the residence.

About 15 minutes of the 45-minute interview were played in the courtroom Thursday.

Kelly bowed his head as he listened to his responses of disbelief when he was notified Bramson died.

On the recording, Kelly said he did the right thing by taking Bramson to the hospital and questioned whether it was something for which he could get in trouble.

In the courtroom dressed in orange, he wiped at his eyes with a tissue.

About 20 of Bramson’s friends and family members attended Thursday’s hearing, alternating between quietly listening and staring intently in Kelly’s direction.


Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.