(Update: Cranston sentenced; Washington's family gives statements, Cranston declines to speak)
'God will deal with Ian Cranston the way He sees fit,' victim's mother says
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – After tearful statements by the victim’s mother and family, a Deschutes County judge imposed the required Measure 11 sentence of 10 years in prison Monday afternoon on Ian Cranston of Redmond, found guilty by a jury of manslaughter in last year’s fatal shooting of Barry Washington Jr. outside a downtown Bend bar.
Washington’s mother, La’Wanda Roberson, spoke tearfully in Circuit Judge Beth Bagley’s courtroom of how “the last 435 days, to be exact, have been a living nightmare for my family and me,” since losing her eldest child. How when she learned her son had not made it, she “pulled the car over, prayed and screamed at the top of my lungs.”
“My son was my everything, my first born,” she said through tears. “He always had a way to cheer you up when you were down. He was loving, caring and was always the life of the party.”
While prosecutors did not claim a racial motive at trial, Roberson repeated her view that it’s “clear racism was involved in this case.”
"Does anyone think that Cranston would have even noticed my son if he were not Black? What's clear to me is that if my son was white, he would be alive today,” Roberson said. “You don’t have to be Black to know that.”
“I am fragile and broken and have felt sad and despair beyond words can explain,” she read from her statement on paper, interrupted by deep tears. “My child was taken from this earth, not of the illness or sickness or an unfortunate accident, but by the hands of a man. There is no pain as intense as what is in my broken heart.
Roberson said she considers 10 years in prison “a slap on the wrist. He will be able to get out of prison before he is 40, allowed to be married, to have kids.” To the judge, Roberson said, “I know you have no discretion on what Cranston’s sentence will be, because under Oregon law, people convicted of manslaughter in the first degree will be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“But God will deal with Ian Cranston the way He sees fit,” she continued. “And while I hope whatever time you get, Ian Cranston, instead of feeling sorry for yourself. I hope you feel all the pain that me and my family have felt.
After that, several other family members gave their "victim impact statements," as is customary at sentencings, speaking emotionally by phone about the impact of their loss of the young man they knew as “BJ,” called a “big teddy bear” with an infectious smile, sense of humor and willingness to help family and friends.
When the time came and Bagley asked, “Mr. Cranston, is there anything you’d like to say?” Cranston half-stood, out of his seat for a moment, and replied simply: “No, your honor,” then sat back down.
Bagley told Cranston that despite his self-defense stance and statements on the witness stand, she hoped he'd do things differently now, if he were in such a situation.
"I can’t imagine how you couldn’t want to do it differently, that you couldn't think that you did wrong," she said, looking at Cranston. "How you couldn’t realize now, after more than a year, how many lives you shattered -- first and foremost, Mr. Washington and his family, your family -- yourself."
“Everybody here lost – some much more than others,” the judge said before having Cranston stand and pronouncing sentence.
Some convicted counts were merged with others, but since all sentences, for manslaughter, assault and unlawful use of a weapon, were imposed concurrently, he will serve a total of 10 years, minus time served so far (over a year), and won’t eligible for “good time” programs.
The judge said she will leave determining the amount of required restitution open for 90 days, but expects it will be “sizable.” She imposed no court fine, so any available funds go to restitution.
On Tuesday, November 15th, after a closely watched, two-week trial and more than six hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted Cranston on a second-degree murder charge but found him guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter for firing the fatal shot -- an act he testified was in self-defense, after being punched by Washington.
On the night of Sept. 19, 2021, Cranston shot and killed Washington on a sidewalk outside The Capitol, a bar in downtown Bend. Cranston was angry with Washington because Washington had complimented Cranston’s fiancée and would not, he said, leave them alone.
Under Measure 11 sentencing guidelines, a manslaughter conviction carries a 10-year prison sentence, along with three years of post-prison supervision.
State law defines manslaughter as an act "committed recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
La'Wanda Roberson said later the verdict and sentence were not enough, saying Cranston will still have time to live a full life, while her son never will.
“Initially, when the verdict was read, I was excited. I was happy," Roberson said. "Soon after, I found out he would only be getting 10 years. That's like a slap on the wrist. That’s disappointing, because you murdered my son, so 10 years is just not enough time."
The jury also convicted Cranston on charges of first-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.
Defense attorney Kevin Sali told reporters after the verdict that the conviction will be appealed, based on several court rulings in the case.