UPDATE — Thursday, May 18th, 2017 4:45 p.m. EDT
Kenneth Brunke will spend an additional 18 to 30 years in prison and was ordered to pay $500,000 on three felony counts related to the delivery and manufacture of cocaine. He was sentenced Thursday morning in front of a packed courthouse in Schoolcraft County.
Brunke declined to address the court before sentencing. Prior to sentencing, Prosecutor Tim Noble said Brunke needed to be an example for others thinking about selling drugs in the area.
“Schoolcraft County and for that matter the rest of the State of Michigan and anyone else that wants to come here and sell their stuff needs to know that Schoolcraft County is not a place where you go to setup shop and deal drugs,” said Noble.
Brunke was charged with the delivery and manufacture of 1,000 grams or more of cocaine last year. He had been selling cocaine in the area that came from Chicago.
Brunke pleaded guilty to those charges last month. Judge William Carmody agreed with the prosecutor’s office on the length of Brunke’s sentence.
“It’s about deterrence and that’s what we have to look at in this case and in any case,” said Judge Carmody. “This is a case study and the problems associated with drugs. It isn’t a victim-less crime. It affects our families, it affects our schools, it affects our children,” Judge Carmody added.
In 2015, Brunke’s Manistique home was the site of a triple homicide. He was originally charged with three murder counts.
Due to the death of one of his co-defendants, Marietta Carlson, he pleaded guilty to reduced charges and was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison. His other co-defendant, Garry Cordell, pleaded guilty to the murders and is serving three life sentences.
“By his own statements, Mr. Cordell was there watching that house for Mr. Brunke so that stuff stopped being stolen. What was stolen? Cocaine,” said Noble. “That’s what this was. That’s what this is all about from the beginning. Not all drug cases end up with the co-conspirator killing three people in the main leader’s house. That’s where this case ended,” Noble added.
Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office assisted the prosecutor’s office with the drug case. A statement from them can be found below:
“Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced Kenneth Brunke, 47, of Schoolcraft County, was sentenced to 225 to 360 months in prison. Brunke pleaded no contest to 3 felony counts related to the delivery of cocaine in March 2017.
“Mr. Brunke’s drug crimes were very serious and his sentence today reflects that,” said Schuette. “While no prison sentence will undo what happened in 2015, I hope this sentence provides some sense of closure to the local community and serves as a reminder that criminal activity comes with consequences.”
In February 2016, Schoolcraft County prosecuting Attorney Timothy Noble filed drug charges against Brunke based on evidence obtained during a 2015 triple homicide investigation involving Brunke. The Attorney General’s office was asked to assist with the drug case in May 2016. Brunke was sentenced last year in relation to that triple homicide that occurred at his home and is currently serving 40 to 60 months in prison.
Brunke pleaded no contest to one count of Controlled Substance – Delivery / Manufacture (cocaine) 1,000 or more grams; one count of Conspiracy Controlled Substance – Delivery / Manufacture (cocaine) 1,000 or more grams; and one count of Controlled Substance – Delivery / Manufacture less than 50 grams and was sentenced to 225 months to 360 months in prison as well as fines and costs totaling over $500,000.00 for the two counts of more than 1,000 grams. Brunke was sentenced to 752 days for the Delivery less than 50 grams count.
Brunke was sentenced on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Judge William Carmody in Schoolcraft County Circuit Court. Brunke’s sentences will be served concurrently.”
SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY — Kenneth Brunke was sentenced to 18 to 30 years in prison.
Brunke was sentenced in Schoolcraft County Circuit Court Thursday morning. The Manistique man is now facing 18 to 30 years in prison, plus $500,000 in fines on three counts related to the possession and distribution of heroin.
ABC 10’s Jerry Taylor will have more details tonight at 5:30 p.m.