Sentencing set in death of musician

Federal charges likely

Sentencing set in death of musician

PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Townsend man faces sentencing this week for the controlled substances homicide of a local musician before he faces probable federal charges.

Adam Michael Kelly, 38, signed an Alford plea saying the state has enough evidence to convict him of controlled substance homicide resulting in the death of Port Townsend musician Jarrod Bramson in March 2019.

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

The sentencing hearing will be before Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Christopher Ashcraft, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, plans to recommend to Judge Harper that he sentence Kelly to the top end of the standard range at 68 months — over five years — imprisonment with 12 months community custody but is recommending that three counts of possession be dropped, according to court documents.

According to Cornell Law School: “An Alford plea registers a formal claim neither of guilt nor innocence toward charges brought against a defendant in criminal court…an Alford plea arrests the full process of criminal trial because the defendant — typically, only with the court’s permission — accepts all the ramifications of a guilty verdict (i.e. punishment) without first attesting to having committed the crime.”

In addition to the homicide charges brought against Kelly by the state, the federal courts plan to charge Kelly with “drug and gun” related charges after state sentencing, said Emily Langlie, communications director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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

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.

As of June 26, Kelly had four charges against him: Controlled Substances Homicide, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, and two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance-Heroin, according to court documents.

The homicide count states: “On or about the 28th of day of March, 2019…[Kelly] did knowingly and unlawfully deliver a controlled substance in violation of RCW 69.50.401(2)(a), (b) or (c), and said controlled substance was used by…Jarrod Bramson, resulting in the death of said person .”

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

The standard range for actual confinement is 51 to 68 months with 12 months community custody, according to court documents.


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