(Update: Trial approaches closing arguments)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The murder trial of Ian Cranston in the September 2021 downtown Bend shooting death of Barry Washington Jr. is coming to a close.
Deschutes County Distract Attorney John Hummel told NewsChannel he expects closing arguments to take place on Tuesday.
On Monday afternoon, Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley was meeting with attorneys for both sides to review final jury instructions.
NewsChannel 21’s Bola Gbadebo will be in the courtroom Monday and will have a report at Five on KTVZ.
Last Thursday, the jury heard from two medical experts, after Cranston himself took the stand Wednesday in his own defense.
There was some debate between prosecution and defense attorneys about the severity of Cranston’s injuries and the validity of the CT scans of his head and face.
Prosecutors said the language in a doctor’s notes showed uncertainty, meaning Cranston may not have had hemotympanum, which would mean there was blood in the ear cavity of Cranston’s skull, as the defense claimed. Dr. Jennifer Stankus testified remotely.
With Cranston’s own testimony its highlight, the defense quickly rested its case on Thursday, and prosecutors called just one rebuttal witness.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said the attorneys will be discussing final jury instructions with Circuit Judge Beth Bagley on Monday. He also said some final testimony could be heard Tuesday before attorneys give their closing statements, lilel;y Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. The case then will go to the jury for deliberations.
Cranston took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, recounting the fateful encounter and saying he felt he had no choice but to fire his gun after Washington punched him and wouldn’t leave.
Both the defense and prosecuting attorneys questioned Cranston about his state of mind leading up to the shooting. He acknowledged he had been drinking at the Capitol nightclub with his fiancé and a close friend, Tyler Smith, but claimed he was not under the influence or inebriated at the time of his interaction with Washington.
Cranston said they first encountered Washington in the nightclub, and then outside in the street, where he became confrontational, said he was from “Cali” (California) and was using what he made a hand gesture he thought was a gang sign (prosecutors and Washington’s family have denied he was part of any gang). He said he told Washington to stay away from him, Butler and his friend.
Cranston also testified that he normally carries his gun under a concealed carry permit to protect himself, that it was a typical thing for him to do so when he would be going somewhere he wasn’t familiar with.
After being punched twice by Washington, Cranston testified, “The first recollection I have is basically coming to against a brick wall. My head was throbbing, I didn’t have any vision in my left eye, and my ears were ringing pretty heavily.”
Cranston told the jury that he became afraid of getting seriously hurt, knocked unconscious or getting brain damage.
He said he got very scared and showed Washington the gun, but said, “I would almost argue that it gave him fire” — so he felt firing the gun was his only option.
“I shot him to stop the threat,” Cranston said.
At one point, when Cranston was asked about where he aimed, he said, “Center mass is center (of the) chest.”
Asked why that was where he fired, Cranston replied: “It’s the biggest target.”
Once he fired the shot, Cranston said of Washington, “He had stopped dead in his tracks, and then he fell to the ground. As he was falling to the ground, I asked him if I hit him.”
“When he fell to the ground, it was obvious that I hit him. When I walked over, I asked him again. He responded, ‘Don’t kill me, bro!'” Cranston said, his voice choking, close to tears. “And I said, ‘I’m not going to kill you.'”
“And I leaned down over him and I lifted his shirt, to see if I hit him in the chest, umm, and I’d hit him in the stomach. So I put the shirt back on, and I put pressure on the wound, umm, and then I started yelling, ‘Call the police!'”
Asked why he did so, Cranston replied, “I didn’t want him to die.”
Earlier Wednesday, after the prosecution rested its case, defense attorney Kevin Sali, out of the jury’s presence, asked Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley for an acquittal in the case, claiming prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge denied that request, saying Cranston could be found guilty of the charges against him, which also include manslaughter.
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