(Update: Jury selection begins)
March for justice held; attorneys trade claims in evidence motions
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Jury selection began Wednesday in the murder trial of Ian Cranston in the fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. in September of last year in downtown Bend.
Potential jurors were asked numerous questions in the extensive jury questionnaire, and a woman in the pool made clear her issues with using guns as a resolution for any dispute. A male prospective juror related something he read in a newspaper regarding Washington’s background, a major focus of pre-trial motions regarding evidence from both the prosecution and defense.
Supporters of several social justice organizations, including The Fathers Group, the Central Oregon Peacekeepers and the Central Oregon Diversity Project, gathered in downtown Bend Tuesday evening to march for Barry Washington Jr.
They started at the Deschutes County Courthouse and made their way to “Barry’s Corner,” a small memorial in place for over a year at the spot on Wall Street where Washington was fatally shot.
Social advocates say they’re hoping to see justice come out of the Cranston murder trial.
NewsChannel 21 spoke Tuesday with Washington’s mother, Lawanda Roberson, who flew in from California to observe the trial. She also attended Tuesday’s march.
“I’m just happy that the trial is here to finally get justice for my son,” Roberson said.
Kenny Adams, executive director of The Father’s Group, said, “The impact of this is going to reverberate for years to come,”
The high-profile case has garnered a lot of support for Washington, but his mother said she’s also received very hateful and racist comments.
“When I see those comments about my son, it just — it just hurts me to the core,” Roberson said.
“It’s just very surreal. It’s been very traumatic,” she added.
Adams said, “Barry Washington Jr. was murdered in our streets. We want to see the justice system actually prevail, for once.”
Cranston face second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges in the Sept. 19, 2021 shooting death of Washington in downtown Bend. The trial is expected to last eight to 12 days. Cranston has claimed he acted in self defense after he was assaulted by Washington.
One day before the trial begins, a prosecutor responded Tuesday to a defense request to allow evidence claiming victim Barry Washington Jr., made earlier gang-related references, saying he was never a gang member and calling such insinuations “disgraceful.”
In a separate filing Monday, Washington’s mother said the material should not be allowed because it was illegally obtained from her late son’s cellphone.
Defense attorney Kevin Sali’s 13-page trial memorandum filed Monday asks the judge to exclude some potential prosecution testimony as irrelevant, such as a police comparison to other previous downtown incidents (none of them fatal), and argues that Washington should not be referred to as a “victim” during the trial.
But Sali also asked to be allowed to use other evidence, writing that “the defense has discovered social media postings as well as a series of communications on Washington’s phone indicating gang affiliation,” consistent with hand signals and references Washington reportedly used during the fateful downtown altercation.
The attorney for Roberson, Washington’s mother Roberson, filed an eight-page motion in response later Monday, seeking a protective order to not allow use of evidence they claim was unlawfully seized, saying it was outside the scope of the search warrant for the phone.
Deputy District Attorney Brooks McClain filed a 13-page response to the defense motion Tuesday as the judge and attorneys met privately to make final pre-trial arrangements.
McClain argued much of what the defense wants admitted as evidence, including supposed past gang references, is “grossly prejudicial” or irrelevant and promotes theories that are “gross stereotypes and harmful generalizations.”
In a footnote, the prosecutor said the defense lawyer “is not an expert on the vernacular of young African American men raised in a particular social economic group … and is wrong that a young man calling a friend ‘blood’ means they are gang members.”
“Mr. Washington is not nor has he ever been an actual gang member, and defense’s attempt to paint him as such is disgraceful,” McClain wrote.
Meanwhile, Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley on Friday rejected defense attorney’s efforts to suppress from trial some of the statements Cranston made to officers after being detained by police, before and after he was read his Miranda rights.
She wrote that Cranston’s statements “were volunteered, and not in response to, or the product of interrogation.” When an officer asked if he had any medical issues, for example, she said those “are proper questions for routine custody/booking and public safety.”
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