A Bellingham man will spend a decade in prison for stabbing another man in mid-January in the Alderwood neighborhood, severely injuring him.
Brant Joseph Kirkwood, 24, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison, with three years probation for first-degree assault. Kirkwood was initially charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and tampering with a witness, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records. Kirkwood will also have to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and comply with treatment as part of his sentencing.
On Jan. 13, Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 3400 block of Alderwood Avenue for the report of a stabbing. When they arrived, deputies found then-26-year-old Cody Shadle unconscious, with multiple stab wounds to his leg and abdomen, according to court records.
Shadle suffered severe life-threatening injuries and lost brain function due to blood loss, but he survived the attack — likely due to a Bellingham police officer, a sheriff’s deputy and Shadle’s wife who all helped put a tourniquet on his leg, pack the wound with gauze and administer CPR, according to an earlier story in The Bellingham Herald.
According to Shadle’s wife, someone knocked on their door and when she opened it, there was a woman and man, later identified as Kirkwood, standing in the door frame with a knife. Shadle stepped between them and then got into a fight with Kirkwood. Someone yelled “he’s been stabbed” and Kirkwood and the other woman took off, the records state.
A neighbor’s friend was able to identify Kirkwood and the woman as they were fleeing. The friend confronted Kirkwood about the stabbing, to which he replied, “he punched me first,” the records state.
Initially, investigators with the sheriff’s office believed Shadle had sold a speaker to Kirkwood and the woman. The pair then went to confront Shadle because the speaker wasn’t working and they wanted their money back.
During a search warrant served at Kirkwood’s address, they found blood smudged on the outside and inside of a white Toyota Corolla, which matched the getaway vehicle, a folding knife with a pyramid tip with blood on it that was hidden in a planter outside and bloody clothing at the bottom of a laundry basket in Kirkwood’s bedroom.
They also found eight fentanyl patches, 13 bags containing five Xanax pills each, three prescription bottles containing 186 more Xanax and 26 oxycodone pills, and six bags each containing five dextroamphetamine pills, according to court records.
The woman who was with Kirkwood told investigators Shadle had come to Kirkwood’s residence on the day of the stabbing and bought 35 Xanax pills but left without paying, records state. The woman said she and Kirkwood then went to Shadle’s house to confront him about the $350 drug debt, the records state.
Whatcom County senior deputy prosecutor Erik Sigmar said a plea bargain was offered to mitigate the risks of going to trial on the original charges. The standard sentencing ranges for first-degree assault and attempted murder are similar, Sigmar said, with the high end of assault being 10 years and the high end of attempted murder being roughly 13 years.
“We agreed to plea bargain in part because we thought it was a proportional sentence to other crimes that are resolved in Whatcom County, but also because we were supporting the wishes of the victim in the case,” Sigmar said.
Kirkwood’s public defense attorney declined to comment on his sentencing.