Barry Washington Jr. shooter will be jailed until trial
A central Oregon man charged with murder after a fatal shooting in downtown Bend last year will await trial in jail, a Deschutes County Circuit Court judge ruled Monday.
In a virtual hearing, Circuit Court Judge Beth Bagley reviewed evidence from the Sept. 19 shooting, including video footage, police reports, medical records and testimony.
Lawyers for Ian MacKenzie Cranston do not dispute that he shot Barry Washington Jr., ultimately killing the 22-year-old black man. Washington was unarmed at the time.
Cranston, who is white, pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, first degree manslaughter, second degree manslaughter, first degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a lethal weapon.
Defense attorneys say the 27-year-old acted in self-defense after Washington punched him twice in the face and assaulted Cranston’s friends. But prosecutors said the evidence pointed to revenge.
The state sought on Monday to continue to hold Cranston without bond, and to do so needed to present evidence to support a strong likelihood of conviction. Although the judge’s decision does not decide guilt, it does mean that Cranston cannot post bail to be released before trial.
Surveillance cameras from the night of the murder show that after Washington landed the punches, Cranston waited 26 seconds to shoot him in the chest.
“Cranston’s conscious objective after being hit was to produce his loaded handgun and then wait for an opportunity to kill Washington at close range,” Assistant District Attorney J. Michael Swart said in court records. .
Defense attorney Kevin Sali said in a brief that “26 seconds is not a long time” and “the video evidence clearly shows that throughout this period Washington continued to behave in a manner aggressive and gave no indication of an intention to end his assault.”
Bagley sided with the prosecution on Monday.
“The evidence clearly and convincingly establishes that the defendant, Mr. Cranston, shot Mr. Washington at point-blank range with a firearm, which is a deadly and deadly weapon, and when he did so, he had the conscious purpose of causing Mr. Washington’s death,” Bagley ruled.
Washington, a California native, had been living in Bend for only a month and a half when he was killed. His mother, Lawanda Roberson, spoke in court to oppose Cranston’s release. She called her son by his nickname, BJ
“I firmly believe in my heart that BJ wouldn’t be dead if he wasn’t black,” Roberson said. “Race aside, people in this community will have to decide if shooting and killing an unarmed man who punched you is justified.”
A timeline emerges
The night he died, Washington was drinking at The Capitol nightclub. Cranston was also there with his fiancée Allison Butler and friend Tyler Smith. Inside the club, Washington approached Butler and “expressed an interest in her,” according to a defense query. Surveillance footage shows a brief friendly encounter.
“Butler, seemingly flattered, smiled and told Washington she was engaged, showing her her ring. Washington gave Butler a hug, which she returned, and then the two parted ways,” Sali wrote.
A few minutes later, Butler, Cranston and Smith left the bar to smoke cigarettes on the sidewalk. Soon after, Washington also came out. He met the group about two minutes before Cranston shot him.
Each side of the case interprets the evidence in these court records very differently.
According to prosecutors, Washington brushed past Smith and said to Butler, “Hey, you look good.”
The state summarized testimony given to police and a grand jury.
Cranston is described as saying things like “she’s already taken, move on” and “mind your own business”. Washington persisted in confronting the group, and Butler told the grand jury that he had become aggressive. Cranston and Smith allegedly told him to “fuck you”.
Butler told the grand jury that she became nervous “because Ian isn’t backing down, he’s defensive against me and he’s not the kind of guy to get pushed around.”
After more words were exchanged, Washington hit Cranston twice.
Butler began filming with his cell phone.
“Then Mrs. Butler gets between [them]Bend Police Det. Camille Christensen testified at Monday’s hearing, summarizing the 26 seconds of surveillance footage after the first punch, and just before the fatal blow.
“Mr. Washington dismisses Ms. Butler,” Christensen said. “Mr. Smith kind of steps in. He gets hit by Mr. Washington.
Cranston then fires a single bullet, hitting Washington in the chest.
The prosecution argued that Cranston’s work in a bullet factory and his experience as a hunter show he intended to kill Washington.
“Sir. Cranston’s actions were grossly disproportionate and unreasonable,” Swart, the prosecutor, said during the hearing.
Defense attorney Sali said Cranston did not intend to kill, but rather to stop a threat.
“Washington committed a violent and totally unprovoked assault on Cranston,” Sali explained. “Cranston had no legal obligation to allow a large and powerful man to continue to strike him hard in the head.”
Smith was questioned by a police officer that night and reportedly said he was surprised his friend fired the gun.
“[Smith] said he didn’t feel like he feared for his life and that Barry was just a drunk guy,’ prosecutors said in court records.
Sali’s motion says Washington’s blood alcohol level was 0.195%, well above the legal limit for driving. Cranston was not intoxicated, his attorney told the judge.
Police questioned Butler immediately after the incident, but Christensen said law enforcement would not learn she had her own footage of the shooting on her cellphone for more than a week. Butler then aired the footage on a local television station. The next day, the police obtained it with a search warrant.
Cranston has been held in the Deschutes County Jail without bond since September 30. An eight-day trial is due to begin November 1.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully asked the judge to close Monday’s bail hearing to the public, arguing that the evidence could reach potential jurors and jeopardize a fair trial.
The state’s attempt to hold the hearing in secrecy contrasted with high-profile statements by Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, who likened the case to a lynching. Hummel did not respond to requests for comment.
Judge Bagley was not persuaded by the prosecution’s request.
“I think it’s important for everyone to understand what evidence I’m reviewing and reviewing to make my decision in today’s hearing,” she said.
Local social justice organizers said the shooting illustrates why black people don’t feel safe in central Oregon, where about 93% of the population identifies as white.