“Bering Sea Gold”: Brad Kelly was arrested due to a brutal domestic violence case

April 18, 2024
10 mins read

Brad Kelly, one of the prominent stars in the reality-television series, “Bering Seas Gold,” was in 2022 reported to have been arrested for brutal domestic violence. He was sentenced to a total of four years imprisonment, and after his release would be on a five-year probationary period. Due to his plea deal during his arraignment, three years out of his prison sentence were suspended, which made his prison stay much shorter.

“Bering Sea Gold”, the TV show that made Brad Kelly a reality-TV star

One of the main reasons why “Bering Sea Gold” became a hit TV series aside from the viewers’ fascination with dredging gold in the sea, was the drama involving most of its stars aboard their boats. Some of them even had run-ins with the law, so Brad Kelly’s arrest wasn’t even a shocker to most fans.

Bering Sea Gold, the premise

Original Productions, the same people behind the creation of the Emmy Award-winning reality-TV series, “Deadliest Catch,” came up with the idea of another TV show which featured gold miners, and called it “Bering Sea Gold.” Instead of mining through the dry hard rock of caves and mountains in far-flung areas, they dove into the Bering Sea with their boats – going into the shallow waters and even to the deep ocean made gold hunting much more interesting to the viewers. At the end of each season, all the participating teams would gather all their gold after the major cleanouts, have it weighed and present each of their total gold hauls. It premiered on 27 January 2012 and has continued to entertain viewers each year ever since, starting to air its latest season in December 2022.

Divided into the summer and spring seasons

The creators of “Bering Sea Gold” immediately launched a spin-off series by introducing another show called “Bering Sea Gold: Under The Ice.” The only huge difference was the season it was filmed, and that it added new gold miners. For the first three seasons of the show, the producers made a distinction between the two by maintaining two titles, the original for the summer dredging season, and the other for dredging in the spring. For some reason, by the fourth season, they’d removed the distinction and went by the original title.


Popular theories about why there’s gold found in the Bering Sea

The Bering Sea is a body of water described as a marginal sea found in the Northern Pacific Ocean. One science book called the sea ‘The only gateway to the Pacific Ocean, with the Arctic Ocean acting as a transition zone between the cold dry air mass of the Arctic.’ Many viewers were curious as to why there was gold in the Bering Sea – as early as 1899, an experienced gold miner from Nome Beach believed that the gold was sprayed into the Bering Sea from outer space through meteor showers. There were those old timers who participated in the Alaska Gold Rush era who claimed that the entire floor of the Bering Sea was full of gold, and that from time to time as the sea floor shifted, some of it washed ashore. One of the richest gold mining investors in the early years of the gold rush believed that it was a result of a volcanic eruption in prehistoric times, that spewed out gold and mixed it into the sediments on the ocean floor. Scientifically, geologists had a different possible explanation, but there isn’t any exact reason as to why gold existed in the area. The miners really didn’t care as to the reason behind it, but focused more on how to extract it.


Get to know Brad Kelly and his years with “Bering Sea Gold”

One of the most followed sagas in the reality-TV show was about Brad Kelly and his family, particularly his relationship with his two boys who both helped him in the gold mining business. While he netted millions of dollars through this business, he also exposed to the public the dysfunctionality of his family dynamics. The drama in his family contributed to the interest that “Bering Sea Gold” received over the years, aside from their mining skills.

Brad Kelly’s introduction to the series

Brad wasn’t around yet when the TV series aired its first season. He was introduced to the viewers as one of the divers on Steve Riedel’s boat called Steve’s World on Ice during the second season of the spin-off series, “Bering Sea Gold: Under The Ice.” That season, Brad excitedly participated around Nome, Alaska, where gold was supposed to be everywhere after spring pushed winter off, making the ice manageable. However, it turned out to be a disastrous season, resulting in a bust.

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Brad brought in his sons as part of the crew

After a devastating winter, Brad enlisted the help of his sons, Andy and Kris, as Steve lost his boat and most of his crew. Brad said that Steve was crazy, wired differently, and a moron, but he was a good captain so he stuck with him. Steve brought in a new dredge boat called Minnow, which was not only the smallest of the “Bering Sea Gold” fleet, but also had a dodgy engine. Even if everyone in the mining community thought Steve was a joke, Brad told his sons to respect the captain and follow his orders. However, things went awry when Kris and Steve had an argument and it escalated. Brad made sure to keep the peace between them and told his son to make up with the captain, which he did.  They understood each other, and said it boiled down to being stressed out, as they weren’t making any money.


Brad as a father to his two sons

Brad and his sons made an impact on the producers because they were included in the regular cast of the ensuing seasons of the original series. Of the two brothers, Kris was known as the emotional one who would get fired up easily, while the younger one, Andy, was more level-headed. Kris said that their father used them as little workers all the time, and would often say ‘Don’t worry, I got my sons. I’ll get that done for free.’ He described their lifestyle as similar to gypsies, because they didn’t stay in one area longer than a year.

The Kelly brothers always fought each other from when they were small. When they became adults, Andy said that he outweighed his older brother by 40lbs so Kris would always use a baseball bat, a frying pan, or anything that could give him an advantage during a fight. Brad prayed that the two wouldn’t kill each other during the dredging season. The good thing about his sons was that despite their differences of opinion and contrasting personalities, they had each other’s back.

Viewers asked where was Brad

Aside from the various problems they experienced with the boat structure and engine, the Kelly brothers also had to deal with Steve’s reputation as a stupid fool in the local miner’s community. Brad’s sons felt that the community was also talking shit about them, due to their association with him. They put up with it to help with the family’s upkeep, and sent most of it to their mother in Hawaii. Andy said that he grew up without any uncles, aunts or grandparents, only with his dad, mom and brother. So, even if they encountered hostile rival miners in the public mining area, they continued to dredge and were tough enough to meet the threats they received from them. Andy even dared their competitors to jump into the boat and act on their threats. They found a few ounces of gold, but they only got half of it to pay Steve for the use of the boat – viewers wondered where Brad was in all of these situations.

Minnow became Reaper, Kelly’s own dredge boat

When Steve’s Minnow was repossessed by its owner, as Steve wasn’t able to pay his dues, somehow Brad arranged to have it transformed into his own boat on loan, and named it Reaper. Everything on the dredge boat was acquired from Steve; they just made sure they fixed it as much as they could with the little budget that they had. The first time they went out, Steve was somewhere in the vicinity, and they exchanged ‘pleasantries’ by showing their naked butts to each other. Kris wondered why Steve was still in Nome when he didn’t know anything about gold mining.


Brad Kelly stole gold from his sons

One of the most unfortunate scandals in Brad’s family happened during earlier seasons of “Bering Sea Gold.” Viewers were astounded and annoyed when Brad stole from his sons’ gold haul. He and his new girlfriend, Courtney, who was pregnant at that time, sold a little over 11 ounces of gold, which was close to $15,000. Brad justified it by claiming it was his payment for the years he took care of his children, because they were no longer young kids but adults who should have been paying for their own upkeep instead of him providing them with everything. There wasn’t any remorse – as he said, ‘The price for working for him.’ He sold it so that he could pay for the new baby that was on the way. His sons were furious, but Brad couldn’t care less and told them they should find regular jobs. Andy left the family business, but Kris stayed on, as that was the only way he could earn money that he could send to their mother.

Andy returned to the Reaper

Aside from always helping his older brother when he asked for it, Andy’s main goal in returning to the family business was to teach his father a lesson. He said he would create chaos as much as possible, to drive his father crazy. Apparently, he talked to the owner of the Reaper and made some arrangements – he would take it from his father that season, right under Brad’s nose. He said that his father destroyed their family by getting a new one, and left his mother without anything; Andy said that he’d do the same thing to Brad. Unfortunately for Andy, his father already knew about the plan, because the owner of the Reaper told him about it. Brad said that Andy was a Mama’s boy, and that his son would always side with his ex-wife. Courtney asked Brad when he’d draw the line, but Brad replied, ‘Until when do you stop giving your children second chances.’ He said his kids weren’t fucked up, but mostly misguided. He was aware that his youngest son blamed him for the current status of their family.

Brad confronted his sons about Andy’s revenge plans

Brad was harder on Andy than Kris when they were growing up, because the younger son was quite set in his ways. Kris shared that he mostly took care of Andy, because if he didn’t, he was afraid that his younger brother would end up in jail. Apparently, Andy could easily be led astray by people around him, who could spot his vulnerability. When Brad talked to Kris about Andy’s revenge plans with the owner of the Reaper, Kris assured him that the owner was trying to screw up their father, and was using Andy; Kris claimed that his younger brother didn’t have any clue that he was being used. During the confrontation, Andy denied it, saying that it was the owner who asked him if he wanted to buy his boat, not the other way around. Andy then decided not to work with his father anymore, and returned to Hawaii. Brad was confident that his younger son would come around as he always did in the past.

Andy vandalized Brad’s boat

As you’ll gather, each season in “Bering Sea Gold,” the Kellys would be in some kind of drama. There was one episode when Andy ate his pride and went back to work for his father once again. It was the time when his older brother quit on his father as he was kicked out of the house to give more room to Brad’s new baby girl. However, Brad betrayed Andy again by lying about their total gold haul. As a result, Andy vandalized Reaper with a baseball, wrecking everything that he could lay his hands on. When Brad found out about it, he smugly said that it was probably for the best, since he was just handed a reason to call the insurance company.


All about Brad Kelly’s arrest and imprisonment sentence

Some viewers insisted that the personal drama scenarios in the “Bering Sea Gold” were all scripted for TV ratings. However, in July 2022, it was reported that the police arrested Brad Kelly for domestic violence. While the fans weren’t surprised by this outcome, due to his questionable attitude towards his children and ex-wife, it generated much interest, since fans were curious as to who was the victim this time.

The reason for the arrest and the victim of the abuse

The news report never named the victim of the physical and verbal abuse, but most of the “Bering Sea Gold” viewers believed that it was Courtney. There was no other new girlfriend who was featured in the TV show, so everyone assumed that the victim was the mother of one of his children, who gave birth back in 2015, and was the same woman who accompanied Brad in selling most of the gold haul he stole from his sons. Apparently, the cops were told that the couple had an intense argument, and then the girlfriend slept afterward. The next morning, she woke up to find Brad covered in her blood and that was when she called the police. When he was arrested, he reasoned that his girlfriend bumped her head on the table, and that was the reason for the pool of blood on the floor. The details of the case were vague.


The charges and the sentence

Brad was charged with domestic violence and second-degree assault, meaning that an individual caused physical injury using a dangerous object, or caused reckless serious physical injury to another individual, classified as a class B felony. During police questioning, he initially denied it, but during the hearing pleaded guilty to the assault, as a result of which, his defense attorney announced that the other charges were dropped by the prosecutors. During the sentencing in July 2022, the judge gave Brad four years imprisonment, three of which were suspended, and if he behaved appropriately inside the prison, he might be eligible for release after spending only eight months in his cell, along with a five-year probationary period. This was probably the reason why his defense attorney advised him to take the plea deal – to shorten his otherwise possible longer sentence.

When the news reached the fans, most of them commented on social media and in other “Bering Sea Gold” forums, that they found Brad quite disgusting, and were hoping that Discovery Channel wouldn’t include Brad in their newer episodes. They all agreed that it wouldn’t be right to have him appear on the popular TV series, as people, especially children might take it that domestic violence wasn’t a bad thing. The 15th season started airing in December 2020, and while Brad was seen in earlier episodes, his appearances were quite few, and it was evident that Kris was at the helm of the family business.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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