The murder trial for Ian Cranston, the man accused of shooting and killing Barry Washington Jr. in downtown Bend last year, opened Thursday afternoon with opening statements in front of the jury.
Cranston is accused of shooting Washington, 22, on the sidewalk at NW Oregon Ave. and NW Wall St. after an argument early on Sept. 19, 2021.
Cranston 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.
Before the jury was brought in Thursday, the morning was spent with attorneys on both sides making motions for evidence they wanted included in the trial and what they wanted thrown out.
In the morning session Thursday, Judge Beth Bagley granted a protection order submitted by the attorney for Washington’s mother, Lawanda Roberson. The motion protested the use of certain cell phone records in the case.
The records showed texts referring to other people as “blood,” which the defense was planning to use to imply that Washington was part of the bloods gang.
Prosecutor Michael Swart provided the data from the phone to defense attorney Kevin Sali. But the search warrant was only for location data. Swart instead provided the entire contents of the phone to Sali, which allowed him to discover those texts.
Judge Bagley granted the protection order since the information that was released was outside of the court warrant.
Police body cam video will also be allowed to be used in the trial, Bagley ruled. The video is meant to show Cranston’s actions directly after the shooting. The defense did not want the video shown in court.
Bagley also granted a motion to ban mention of any kind of punishment or sentencing during the trial. A trial memorandum to exclude certain testimony was also granted.
Both sides then presented their opening arguments before the jury, with the prosecution arguing that Cranston’s pride was his core motivation for the killing.
“On September 19th 2021, in Downtown Bend…events occurred that wounded this man’s pride, and bruised his ego,” Prosecuting Attorney Michael Swart said.
He described the events of the night, when Washington hit on Cranston’s girlfriend, Allison Butler inside The Capitol. When Butler told Washington she was engaged, he backed off, until another encounter outside on the sidewalk a few minutes later.
Washington approached the group and again proceeded to flirt with Butler, and according to Swart, Cranston and his friend Tyler Smith told him to ‘move along, she’s taken.’
Barry Washington then became ‘angry’, Swart said.
“Without any notice to Ian Cranston, Barry punched Ian in the face,” he said. “After Barry punched him, Ian took out his handgun and waited 30 long seconds to take his revenge, to look for an opportunity to assuage his pride.”
Swart said that although Washington did punch Cranston in the face, there was no evidence showing that Washington attacked him a second time or that Cranston was at risk of death.
“This is nothing more than a bar fight over an argument over a woman, and Ian Cranston using disproportionate amount of force in this case,” Swart said. “By the end of this case you will see that Ian Cranston’s actions were unjustified, unreasonable, and unsupported.”
The defense, represented by Kevin Sali, argued that Cranston was defending himself against an attacker who was bigger and stronger.
“Ian Cranston knows he has no chance at all in physical confrontation, so he draws the firearm that he lawfully carried,” Sali said.
He said self-defense was a reasonable motivation for Cranston to shoot, after Washington punched him twice in the face. Photos of Cranston’s injuries following the altercation were shown to the jury.
“You will hear that a man in Mr. Cranston’s position has the right to fire a shot if he reasonably believes that there is a threat of physical injury, which is indisputably the case,” Sali said.
The jury also heard from witness James Kinsella, who was a supervising detective with Bend PD the night of the shooting.
He verified the source and contents of four different videos, which showed various angles of the altercation and shooting.
Sheriff’s Office security presence increased at courthouse
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it will have additional personnel at the courthouse throughout the trial.
“DCSO is aware of the public’s interest in the process and future outcome of this trial. The Sheriff’s Office respects the rights of those wishing to peacefully protest. While respecting the right to peacefully protest, DCSO will be monitoring activities inside and outside of the courthouse and will hold those accountable that choose to break the law,” DCSO said in a statement.