PORT TOWNSEND — Adam Michael Kelly has pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts, including controlled substances homicide, in the March 27 death of Port Townsend musician Jarrod Bramson.
Kelly, 38, was arraigned in Jefferson County Superior Court on Friday. He appeared before Judge Keith Harper on a video monitor from the Jefferson County jail.
Defense counsel Richard Davies, who represents Kelly, said that his client waived the reading of all 10 counts and entered a plea of not guilty, especially with respect to “count one” — the controlled substances homicide count.
“Mr. Kelly did not kill his friend Jarrod,” Davies said. “He tried to save his life.”
Bramson — who with his wife, Emily Madden, played in the duo Solvents — died of an apparent overdose. He was 43.
A group of 16 of Bramson’s relatives and friends sat in the courthouse and listened to the proceedings of Friday, some audibly gasping at Davies’ remarks.
Shannon Summers, a friend of Bramson’s family, said later that the tight-knit group wants to see justice served.
“We feel Adam Kelly is responsible so we just want to support Jared and his family,” she said.
“We are taking turns supporting each other and we feel raw,” Summers said. “The shock hasn’t worn off and we feel robbed that we won’t see our friend anymore.”
Friends are planning a memorial for Bramson at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Palindrome, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, with a formal memorial at 5 p.m. Summers said a grief tent and music will be part of the remembrance.
Davies on Friday asked Harper to reduce Kelly’s $500,000 bail, saying Kelly had tried to get Bramson medical assistance.
Bramson was found unconscious in his vehicle at Jefferson Healthcare hospital just after 8 p.m. March 27, according to the Port Townsend Police Department. Bramson had been left in the passenger seat of his running vehicle, police said, adding that hospital surveillance video showed Kelly and a woman with him walking away.
“I don’t expect the court to strike the bail because these are serious charges all the way around, but I would ask the court to reduce the bail to $250,000,” Davies said.
“The bail is in large part due to the outpouring of grief that count one has created in the community. “
Davies argued that there is a limited immunity for people who try to get medical attention for someone where there is something wrong, like a drug overdose.
“There isn’t a definitive answer to whether that is what was happening here, but all indications are that Mr. Bramson was suffering an overdose. And what we know so far is that Mr. Kelly and another individual took Mr. Bramson to the emergency room.”
Christopher Ashcraft, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, said that Kelly had sold drugs all over the world from a Port Townsend drug lab for years, “at times with amounts of income that is more than anybody in this room makes.”
Ashcraft said that Kelly has “multiple bank accounts; he has electronic funds that we have no way of getting access to.”
Ashcraft said that while in custody, the defendant called a witness and asked that the person ask another witness to change what the person told police.
“He is a person who is a danger of tampering with the case and probably has the resources to flee the area and has shown by his actions is a severe danger to the community,” Ashcraft said.
“If nothing else, bail should be higher.”
Davies argued that the lab that police said they discovered at Kelly’s house “was completely unrelated” to the alleged overdose that Bramson suffered.
“The allegation has to do with heroin or prescription drugs. This laboratory has to do with steroids,” Davis said.
“There is no indication that Mr. Bramson’s death has anything to do with steroids.”
Harper ruled that the bail amount be kept at $500,000.
“There is probable cause for about as high a risk as I can imagine that the defendant is not only not going to show up but also interfere with justice and leave the area— and possibly the United States,” Harper said. “These are all serious charges.”
Davies said that Kelly is considering filing an affidavit of prejudice on Harper for the trial and asked that the trial date be left to an out-of-county judge to set.
In addition to the controlled substances homicide charge, Kelly is charged with five counts of sale, delivery or possession with intent to sell or deliver a legend drug in a school zone; manufacture of a counterfeit controlled substance in a school zone; possession of a punch die in a school zone; possession of a controlled substance — heroin — in a school zone; and unlawful use of building for drug purposes in a school zone.
Summers said that Kelly had contacted Bramson.
“Jarrod was fine that day,” she said. “He was working as a painter for me. The family hasn’t gotten a toxicology report yet, so the cause of death is still pending.”
Kelly remained in the Jefferson County jail on Saturday. His arraignment will continue next Friday, April 19 at 8:30 a.m. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 10 to set the court date. A pretrial hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. May 31.
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]