A Deschutes County judge ruled Monday accused killer Ian Cranston will remain behind bars until his second-degree murder trial later this year.
Circuit Court Judge Beth Bagley, after reviewing the evidence and hearing presentations from Cranston’s attorney Kevin Sali and Deputy District Attorney J. Michael Swart, denied the request for release.
“The evidence clearly establishes that the defendant, Mr. Cranston, shot Mr. Washington at close range with a firearm, which was a lethal and deadly weapon, and when he did so, he had the conscious objective to cause Mr. Washington’s death,” Bagley said.
“And further, that under all the circumstances existing at the time Mr. Cranston used deadly force, causing the death of Mr. Washington, that use of deadly force against Mr. Washington was not reasonable, and not justified, and that the state has further disproved that the killing was justified as self-defense in the evidence presented in today’s hearing.
“For that reason, the court finds that the presumption of guilt and proof that the defendant committed the crime of murder in the second degree is strong and evident, and not justified as self-defense, and for that reason the request for release is denied.”
Cranston, 27, is accused of shooting to death 22-year-old Barry Washington, Jr. on the sidewalk at NW Oregon Ave. and NW Wall St. after an argument early on Sept. 19th.
He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.
He’s scheduled for an eight-day trial to begin on November 1st.
A detective gave her testimony during the first portion of the bail hearing Monday morning for Cranston.
During the hearing Monday, Detective Camille Christensen with the Bend Police Department was called to testify by Deputy District Attorney J. Michael Swart.
Swart asked her to describe the video evidence they would be reviewing during the hearing, which included surveillance video from the Wild Rose restaurant in Downtown Bend.
She said in the video, you can see Cranston standing on the sidewalk with a group when Mr. Washington approaches him with another group.
“He stops and talks with the group. There’s some conversation between the groups,” she said. “Mr. Washington punches Mr. Cranston twice, and then Ms. Butler gets between Mr. Cranston and Mr. Washington.”
Detective Christensen continued to describe an ongoing argument which soon involves Tyler Smith, a friend of Ian Cranston.
“Mr. Washington pushes Ms. Butler aside, Mr. Smith [Cranston’s friend] steps in, he gets punched by Mr. Washington.”
Based on time stamps from the surveillance video, Mr. Smith was punched approximately 33 seconds after Mr. Cranston.
“Immediately after [Washington] punching Mr. Smith, Mr. Cranston shot Mr. Washington,” Christensen said.
She also said that the video showed Cranston with the gun in his hand 26 seconds before firing at Washington.
The prosecution claims the time frame is a key component, showing Mr. Cranston had time after being hit before pulling a weapon and firing the fatal shot.
Christensen said 911 was then called.
Christensen said the only weapon that was recovered was the one they seized from Mr. Cranston, as well as the shell casing.
After a recess, Swart presented his arguments, speaking about the moments leading up to Washington’s death.
“What could have Mr. Cranston done in those 26 seconds except for weighing for or against the decision to shoot Mr. Washington?” he said, speaking about the period of time between the moment Cranston produced the firearm and the moment he shot Washington.
He argued that Cranston knew it would cause a particular result, namely, the death of Washington.
Swart also said that, based on the video evidence shown, self-defense was not a valid argument.
“It is our humble opinion that there is no evidence that Mr. Cranston, after being struck twice, was at the risk of receiving deadly physical force from Mr. Washington,” he said.
“He never indicated that he was going to kill them, he never indicated that he had any kind of weapons, or that he was going to use any kind of weapons.”
Attorney Kevin Sali gave a PowerPoint presentation to the court, showing video clips that pieced together the events of the night of Sept. 18 and early on Sept. 19.
The clips began when Cranston, fiancé Allie Butler, and Tyler Smith entered The Capitol bar the evening of the 18th.
Video from inside The Capitol showed Washington and Butler’s first interaction, where she alleged he expressed interest in her.
Butler said she responded that she was engaged and not interested, and Washington then walked away.
Video from five minutes later at 12:08 a.m. showed the sidewalk outside The Capitol, where Cranston, Butler, and Smith exited the building and lingered on the sidewalk before Washington approached them.
Sali said that Butler testified that Washington began to make ‘advances’ again, and she again told him she was not interested.
She said Cranston then told Washington “mind your business”, which is when she said Washington became ‘irate’ and began raising his voice.
Sali showed three separate video clips, which showed the moment Washington delivered two blows to Cranston, again to Smith, and the subsequent moment when Washington was shot.
“The only evidence the state has of anything is the fact the shot was fired,” Sali said. “So the question is, does the firing of a shot by itself and without anything more, prove that the person who fired that shot had the conscious objective to cause death?”
He argued that Cranston was attempting to end the imminent threat he saw, rather than end a life.
“How long was Ian Cranston required to allow that assault to continue before defending himself?” he asked.
Before Judge Bagley delivered her decision, she allowed Washington’s mother, Lawanda Roberson, to make a statement via video call.
“Barry was ‘BJ’ to me,” she said. “He was not only my son, but my best friend, my confidante, and my protector.”
She went on to say that although the District Attorney had said there was not enough evidence to label Washington’s death a hate crime, she believed he would still be alive if he were not Black.
“The idea that his killer could regain his own freedom less than six months after killing BJ is a slap in the face to me, and to his family,” Roberson said.
“BJ chose Bend as a place to learn a new trade, visit a new state and spend time with a close childhood friend. He did not choose for it to be a place to die. That choice was made by Ian Cranston.”
In January, Cranston’s attorney Kevin Sali filed an 11-page motion asking for his client to be released until trial because the state’s case “had not met the burden necessary to justify the denial of bail” and the shooting was in self-defense.
Sali’s motion revealed new details from the night of the shooting based on videos and firsthand accounts – details the defense said weren’t disputed by prosecutors.
But earlier this month prosecutors filed their own motion asking the judge to deny Cranston’s release.
In the 20-page opposition to pre-trial release, Deputy District Attorney Michael Swart said there was “no evidence that Cranston was gravely injured or about to be killed at the hands of Washington.”
And instead of distancing himself after a scuffle between the two men, Cranston spent 26 seconds deciding whether to fire his handgun.
“During this time, he made a cold, calculated decision to kill an unarmed man who posed no imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to Cranston,” the motion said. “His belief in imminent harm was categorically unreasonable.”
Cranston appeared in court via video while the two sides presented their cases before the judge.