ANN ARBOR, MI — The mother and grandfather of an Ann Arbor high school student slain in a robbery attempt confronted his killers in court Monday, March 5.
Jermarius Ellison, 19, and Delrano Gracey, 18, were each sentenced to 15-40 years when they appeared in the Washtenaw County Trial Court after pleading guilty in the killing of Jordan Klee, who was fatally shot Oct. 4, 2016.
The teens heard from Jordan’s grandfather, John Klee, and mother, Karen Klee, before being sentenced by Judge David Swartz.
Karen Klee was too upset to address the courtroom directly and had an official from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office read her letter. Karen Klee stood at the podium next to the official, tears streaming down her face. Her son’s killers were just a few feet away, sitting at the defense table in green, county jail jumpsuits.
“Jordan no longer has a future,” she wrote in the letter. “I lost my only son, my baby, my friend. More than that, I lost laughter and love.”
John Klee said he taught his grandson how to ride a bike and downhill ski.
“Jordan just loved it,” he said. “I miss skiing and biking with him. I still have his equipment, ready and on display, which Jordan will never be able to use.”
Both said the family will miss watching Jordan Klee grow up. The Pioneer High School student would have been in his senior year. In her letter, Karen Klee lamented not being able to see her son play his senior year of football, or go to prom and get senior pictures taken.
“While you can still hope to be released some day, I’ll never escape my hell,” Karen Klee told the defendants in her letter. “You are still alive. Jordan no longer has a future.”
At one point, the grandfather turned to Gracey and Ellison.
“We hope there’s not a day that goes by that you don’t think about Jordan,” he said.
Gracey’s attorney, Steven Tramontin, said Gracey was the first of three defendants in the case to be truthful with police about what happened, and that there is a good chance at rehabilitation.
“He has, at all times, shown remorse for his involvement in these circumstances,” he said.
Gracey, of Ypsilanti, apologized to his own family and to Klee’s family.
“First I would like to apologize to my family, especially my mother,” he said. “She wanted (me to do) better, but I continued to make the same mistakes that she wished I never made. To the victim, and his family, I apologize, too.”
Ellison, of Redford, apologized to his family, but not to Klee’s family.
“First and foremost, I want to apologize to my family,” he said. “I know I let you all down. I truly do apologize. I really feel like most of it was all my fault, (because) I am the oldest. I hope that one day that you can forgive me. Forgive all of us, actually.”