Ian Kessel Headed to Prison for Role in 2016 Bradford Drug-Related Armed Robbery

Ian J. Kessel (seen here in a Lee County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office booking photograph) was sentenced to one year in prison at a Salem Superior Court hearing Monday.

Former Haverhill High football player Ian J. Kessel was sentenced to a one-year prison term Monday after pleading guilty to a lesser charge stemming from a 2016 drug-related armed robbery, WHAV can confirm.

According to Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office, 21-year-old Kessel and his codefendant Dalvin F. Andino pleaded guilty in Salem Superior Court on a larceny charge. The charge was reduced from armed robbery, Kimball Monahan said.

Issued by Judge Timothy Q. Feeley, the ruling brings Kessel’s two-year-old case to a close. In January 2016, Kessel and Andino, along with an unidentified 17-year-old juvenile, were charged with armed robbery during, what Haverhill police said, was a “drug deal gone bad” at Bradford’s Forest Acres apartment complex.

“The victim in this case made an arrangement to buy marijuana and was told to meet at Forest Acres Drive…When he went there, he was directed to get into a motor vehicle where a gun was put to his head. He was robbed of a good sum of money,” Haverhill Police Capt. Robert P. Pistone said at the time.

Following a grand jury indictment, Kessel was freed in September 2017 after an apparent evidence mix-up, officials said. At the time, Kimball Monahan told WHAV that the original charge against them alleged stealing money when the allegation was in fact regarding the theft of marijuana.

Kessel’s attorney, Boston-based Hank Brennan, who famously defended James “Whitey” Bulger, helped the Hillie football star clear his name by filing the evidence as improperly listed.

Kessel, now of Lawrence, was also arrested last month by Haverhill Police on drug possession charges.

Last summer, following reports of disturbances, Haverhill Police watched Kessel’s 12 Lexington Ave. home with the department’s conspicuous, white Navistar International truck, labeled as a “video surveillance unit.”

In June 2017, the former running back for the Hillies, who also has a Naples, Fla., home address, was also charged by the Lee County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, described as less than 20 grams, and a nonviolent resisting officer charge. Until the out-of-state arrest, Kessel had been released from earlier conditions that he honor a curfew and stay with his parents.

“He violated the terms of his release not to get into any further trouble with the law,” Kimball-Monahan, told WHAV at the time.