BendIan Cranston murder trial begins: Prosecution, defense paint starkly different pictures of...

Ian Cranston murder trial begins: Prosecution, defense paint starkly different pictures of deadly shooting

Ian Cranston murder trial begins: Prosecution, defense paint starkly different pictures of deadly shooting

Jury to decide if shooting of Barry Washington Jr. was ‘disproportionate’ use of force, or justified self-defense

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Ian Cranston’s murder trial in the September 2021 downtown Bend shooting of Barry Washington Jr. began Thursday with opening statements in which prosecution and defense attorneys painted very different pictures of their fateful downtown Bend encounter and whether the gunshot was justified.

Before the jurors took their seats, attorneys made their arguments Thursday morning before Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley on evidence they wanted included or excluded from the trial.

One subject matter was body cam video footage showing two different perspectives, from two officers, showing the scene moments after the shooting. The footage revealed Washington on the ground, with officers working to apply pressure to the gunshot wound in his abdomen. 

In one video footage perspective, Cranston was kneeling in close proximity to Washington’s body, saying, “It was me. It was me.” before being arrested. In both video clips, you can hear Washington yelling, “I want to go home! Help me!”

Deputy District Attorney Brooks McClain said the footage was intended to provide three things —  an accurate depiction of Washington after he was shot, evidence that Cranston did not render aid to Washington, as the defense claimed, and thirdly, the evidence of statements made.

Regarding the defense claim that some evidence from Washington’s phone was obtained illegally, prosecutors said the search warrant was only intended for location data. However, all media was provided to defense attorney Kevin Sali by Deputy DA J. Michael Swart.

Sali claimed Washington used the term ‘blood’ in various message exchanges, which Washington’s mother had previously indicated was a term of endearment among friends and relatives. 

Bagley limited what material from Washington’s cellphone could be used, saying some of it was beyond the scope of the search warrant. But she allowed use of police bodycam video, rejecting a defense request to exclude it.

The jury was seated at 1:30 p.m., with Cranston, now beardless and in glasses, sitting beside his defense attorneys as opening statements began and family members, including Washington’s mother, in the small courtroom’s limited audience.

The prosecution claimed that Cranston’s actions were completely disproportionate to Washington’s, who was unarmed. The prosecution called the murder unjustified, unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence they plan to present. 

In an explanation of the events that led up to the shooting, Swart said Washington “hit on” Cranston’s fiancé, first initially in the club, The Capitol in Bend, then approached her outside of it, this time in the presence of Cranston and Cranston’s friend.

The prosecution played video footage showing the interaction between Washington and Cranston’s group, which included Cranston, his fiancé and their friend.

An argument ensued between Cranston’s group and Washington outside The Capitol, which led to Washington striking Cranston twice in the head. 

Swart said Cranston’s friend stepped in, also getting into a physical altercation with Washington. Following that incident, the prosecutor said Cranston’s fiancé, then pulled her phone out to record and provoke Washington, to which Washington responded by moving to knock the phone from her hand.

While this was happening, Swart stressed that Cranston waited 30 seconds, in the background, unprovoked, before shooting Washington in the midsection. An act of, what the prosecution called, “pride to a wounded ego.” Having waited for 30 seconds, the prosecution claimed that Cranston’s actions were not a matter of self-defense.

The prosecutor also said Washington and Cranston had both been drinking before the altercation. 

“After Barry Washington punched Ian Cranston twice in the face, Ian Cranston instantaneously took out his handgun that he had holstered on his back and took it to his side,” Swart told the jurors. Then he waited for 30 seconds. Half a minute. Thirty long seconds to take his revenge, to look for an opportunity to assuage his pride.” 

Cranston’s defense attorney, Sali, said in his opening statement that Cranston went out, not knowing he’d be put in a situation where he’d have to defend himself.

He said the law gave Cranston the right to defend himself against the person who attacked him and played footage of Washington outside, persistently pursuing Cranston’s fiancé and refusing to leave.

Sali said the after Cranston’s group used firmer language involving profanity, Washington still would not leave. The lawyer detailed the sequence of events, and said Washington then struck Cranston in the head, punched Cranston’s friend in the nose who had stepped in, then tried to knock Cranston’s fiancé’s phone from her hand.

The defense attorney said drawing the gun was the only chance Cranston had to defend himself, because he would not win in any physical confrontation, based on the size and weight difference between him and Washington.

“He didn’t know that a man would strike him with violent blows to the head, that he would have no chance of fighting him off,” Sali said. “When Ian Cranston finally fired a single shot, because the man that was attacking him wouldn’t stop, he was doing something the law clearly, absolutely and unequivocally allows him to do.”

When the opening statements wrapped up later Thursday, testimony in the case began with the first prosecution witness, Bend Police Corporal James Kinsella, who was questioned about the videos being shown in court.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Late Thursday afternoon, sheriff’s Sgt. Jayson Janes, the sheriff’s office public information officer, issued this statement about security at the courthouse for the closely watched trial which has spurred marches by local social-justice organizations, one that ended at Bend City Hall and led to a demonstration that disrupted a City Council work session Wednesday evening:

“Since learning the trial date for Ian Cranston, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has been preparing and planning to ensure the safety and security of those in the courthouse during the trial. The Sheriff’s Office will have additional personnel in the courthouse throughout the duration of the trial. We continue to work with our outside agency partners as our priority is always public safety. 

“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.” 

The post Ian Cranston murder trial begins: Prosecution, defense paint starkly different pictures of deadly shooting appeared first on KTVZ.

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