Judge sentences Ian Cranston to 10 years in prison for Bend nightclub shooting

By Joni Auden Land (OPB)
Nov. 29, 2022 1:13 a.m.

Barry Washington’s family addressed Cranston, saying his actions were motivated by racism

A Deschutes County Court judge on Monday sentenced 28-year-old Ian Cranston to 10 years in state prison and three years of parole for the killing of Barry Washington Jr. outside a Bend nightclub in 2021.

Judge Beth Bagley spoke to Cranston before announcing the sentence, saying she imagined he would have acted differently on the night of the shooting if given another chance.

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“I can’t imagine how you couldn’t want to do it differently,” Bagley said. “Everybody here lost, some much more than others.”

On Nov. 16, a jury convicted Cranston of five counts related to the shooting, including first degree manslaughter, second degree manslaughter, first degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a deadly weapon.

Bagley ruled that Cranston’s various sentences would run concurrent to one another. Oregon’s mandatory minimum laws require that Cranston serve all 10 years of his sentence, with no chance of parole or having the sentence lessened.

Ian Cranston speaks during his murder trial at the Deschutes County Courthouse in Bend, Ore., on Nov. 9, 2022.

Ian Cranston speaks during his murder trial at the Deschutes County Courthouse in Bend, Ore., on Nov. 9, 2022.

Dean Guernsey/The Bulletin

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The sentencing ends what has been one of Central Oregon’s most high profile trials in recent years. It’s been more than 14 months since Cranston shot Washington, an unarmed Black man, following an altercation between the two outside the Capitol Bar in downtown Bend. Prosecutors have said a fight began between them after Washington flirted with Cranston’s fiancee, Allison Butler.

In the trial, Cranston’s defense team argued that their client acted in self defense, noting that Washington had punched Cranston twice in the head before shots were fired, and that Cranston feared significant injury if Washington punched him again.

Prosecutors argued that the single shot that night came 30 seconds after Washington punched Cranston, and criticized Cranston’s choice to carry a firearm while he was drinking. They also pointed out that Cranston appeared to be smoking a cigarette immediately after the shooting, which they say showed he did not fear for his safety

Multiple members of Washington’s family addressed the court and Cranston on Monday, and shared emotional testimonials of the impact of Washington’s life and killing. Washington had only recently moved to Central Oregon from the San Francisco Bay Area; his family spoke about his love for his family, and playing basketball and football.

Lawanda Roberson, his mother, said it was to clear to her that Cranston killing her son was a racist act.

“Does anyone think that Cranston would have even noticed my son if he was not Black?” Roberson said. “What’s clear to me is that if my son was white, he would be alive today. You don’t have to be Black to know that.”

Other members of Washington’s family said they did not believe 10 years was sufficient and that Cranston should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Washington’s death spurred protests after the shooting and during the entirety of the trial, with many pointing to the similarity between his death and other unarmed Black men killed across the country. A group of protesters Monday marched from the Deschutes County Courthouse to the corner where Washington was killed, just a few blocks away.

Cranston chose not to speak at his sentencing hearing.

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