▶️ Ian Cranston testifies on Day 4 of murder trial: ‘I didn’t want him to die’


On day four of the Ian Cranston murder trial, Cranston himself was called by the defense to testify. 

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.

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Cranton’s attorney Kevin Sali and the prosecution’s Michael Swart questioned Cranston on his background and the events of September 19, 2021.

He said he spent his day leading up to the incident at home in Redmond, as it was his day off, and he spent time with his fiancé before they picked up a friend to head to Bend for the evening. 

Cranston testified that he decided to bring his handgun that night because it was his usual practice in an unfamiliar environment, not because he expected anything unusual to happen. 

He said that when the group (himself, his fiancé Allison Butler, and friend Tyler Smith) got to The Capitol nightclub, they spent most of the evening on the dance floor. Cranston said he had a couple of beers while he was there. 

It was his idea, he said, for the group to go outside for a cigarette. He said he had not noticed Washington or interacted with him before he approached the group on the sidewalk. 

“He didn’t make any motion or anything toward me or Tyler, he directed all his attention toward Ms. Butler,” Cranston said. “He says that you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and kind of starts to lean into her.” 

Cranston remembered Butler telling Washington thank you, but that she was taken. 

“It was apparent after Allie had said that that he wasn’t going to leave, and he was repeating himself, and Allie looked at me with a concerned look,” Cranston said. “And I said ‘hey man, this is my fiancé, I would appreciate it if you would move along.'” 

Cranston said he took a friendly tone, and that he expected Washington would respond well and simply walk away. 

“When you said this, was it your intent to provoke a confrontation?” Sali asked. Cranston said no. 

“He turned to me and said ‘that’s not your concern, that’s her job to tell me,'” Cranston said. “I responded to him and I said ‘what do you mean? I just told you’, and I would say I was firm in my response.” 

Cranston said it was then that Washington “kind of turned his body toward me and kind of stood up, kind of puffed his chest out a little bit.” 

He said at that point Washington was basically “refusing to leave.” 

“He said I’m from Cali,” Cranston said. “I said, what the (expletive) does that have to do with anything? He then gestured his hand and I interpreted that as a gang sign. I said ‘I don’t care about your gang’, get the (expletive) away from us.” 

Sali asked if Washington made threatening gestures or said threatening words, or any indication that he was going to punch Cranston. Cranston said no. 

He said he didn’t remember seeing a fist coming at him, and his first recollection of the blow was “basically coming to, against a brick wall.”

“My head is throbbing, I didn’t have vision in my left eye and my ears were ringing,” he said. 

At that point, Cranston said he did not believe he had the ability to defend himself against Washington, and based on how he felt after the first punch, he believed that further blows could result in permanent damage to his brain or knock him out. 

It was after the first punch that Cranston said he pulled his handgun. “I wasn’t planning on using it, I just wanted to be prepared to,” he said. 

He said Washington started making the “same gestures he made earlier” that Cranston interpreted as gang signs, and Washington “was screaming at this point, ‘Cali Crips (expletive).’” 

When Washington raised his arm to make the gestures, Cranston said he was unsure whether he was going to be struck again and he raised his handgun. He said Washington made eye contact with him and looked at the gun at his side. 

“I told him to get the (expletive) away from us,” Cranston said. 

He said he had no doubt that Washington had seen the gun. “I would almost argue that it gave him fire,” Cranston said. Washington’s reaction to seeing the firearm “scared the (expletive) out of me”, Cranston added. 

He said he turned to yell for help to the bouncer at the door of The Capitol, but he did not receive a response. 

When Washington hit Smith, Cranston said he again yelled at him to back off. That was when he raised his gun, and aimed for the ‘center of mass’ or the center of the chest. 

“When you fire, are you aware that there’s a real possibility that it may result in death?” Sali asked. Cranston said yes. “I didn’t think I had any other option,” he said, and that he was aiming to stop the threat. 

“Was it your desire to kill him?” Sali asked. Cranston said no. 

“He stopped dead in his tracks and then he fell to the ground,” Cranston said. “As he went to the ground, I asked if I hit him. I asked because he was so close to me that it was a point-and-shoot situation.” 

Cranston appeared emotional as he recounted what happened next.

“When I approached him, I asked him again, and he said ‘don’t kill me, bro’ and I said ‘I won’t kill you.’”

He said he then knelt down and began applying pressure to the wound. Sali asked why he did this. 

“I didn’t want him to die,” Cranston said. 

The prosecution also questioned Cranston, asking him whether the class he took for his concealed carry license had instructed him that firearms and alcohol do not mix. Cranston said yes. 

Attorney Michael Swart asked why Cranston did not choose to ‘be the bigger man’ and walk away.

“I don’t think that was an option at that time,” Cranston responded. “It didn’t really cross my mind, I didn’t expect to get hit.” 

Swart asked what he said to Washington before he was punched. “I told him ‘I don’t give a (expletive) about your gang, get the (expletive) away from us,” Cranston said. 

Swart asked why Cranston’s first reaction was not to take out his cell phone and call 911, or to go get help in the immediate vicinity. 

“I didn’t feel like I could leave Allie and Mr. Smith alone with him,” Cranston said. “I wasn’t sure what he was capable of, my concern was him and not on making a call.” 

When Cranston said he didn’t know Washington would die as a result of the shot, Swart said, “You’re telling us when you pointed the gun three feet from Mr. Washington and you pulled the trigger, you didn’t believe he was going to die.” 

“I knew it was a possibility that he could die, but it was not my intention,” Cranston said. 

In the first half of the day Wednesday, the prosecution called its final witnesses to the stand and rested its case. 

One of the witnesses was Oregon State Police Firearms Specialist Leland Samuelson, who had received and test-fired the 9mm Springfield armory semiautomatic pistol Cranston used to fire the shot. 

Samuelson said he didn’t notice anything unusual about the weapon and that it had a ‘red dot sight’ which a person can use to focus their aim on a particular target. 

Expert Forensic Video Analyst Douglas Lacey was also called to the stand. He was asked about the varieties of frame rates in the three videos shown in the trial (surveillance video from Wild Rose and Goody’s, as well as the video from Allison Butler’s phone). 

He was asked whether the slight difference in frame rates would make a difference in the jury’s ability to get the full picture while watching the three videos side by side, as they have been presented. He said both those videos and the original videos would be accurate representations. 

After the jury was let out of the room, the defense filed a motion for acquittal. Cranston’s attorney Kevin Sali said the state had not provided evidence in which a jury could find Cranston guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.”

“As to all counts, the state has failed to disprove self-defense,” Sali said. 

The prosecution’s attorney Michael Swart responded, pointing out that Cranston’s friend Tyler Smith, who testified on Tuesday, said that “he was in fear of serious bodily injury, but not for his life.” 

“There’s no indication whatsoever that Mr. Washington was charging or posing any threat to Mr. Cranston himself at that time,” Swart said. “I think it’s clear that he had the conscious objective to kill Mr. Washington after the 30 seconds elapsed.” 

He said this in reference to the 30 seconds Cranston waited after drawing his gun to fire a shot. 

Judge Bagley denied the motion for acquittal, saying that the court believes the jury could still find Cranston guilty beyond all reasonable doubt on all counts.

The trial continues Thursday morning at 1:30 p.m. at the Deschutes County Courthouse with more defense witnesses taking the stand. 


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