Court documents filed Jan. 26 argue that Ian Cranston doesn’t meet the standards for a pretrial release as he awaits a November trial for the shooting of Barry Washington, Jr. Kevin Sali, Cranston’s attorney, filed a motion for release on bail on Dec. 30 and painted a different picture than that presented by prosecutors of the events leading up to the shooting of Washington on Sept. 19.
Sali’s document claims Cranston acted in self-defense, that Washington punched Cranston unprovoked, was undeterred upon seeing Cranston’s handgun, that he turned toward Cranston before the shooting and that Cranston immediately provided aid to Washington after the shooting. Prosecutors contest nearly all these assertions and maintain that evidence supports the charge of murder.
- Jack Harvel
- Signs and artwork memorialize Barry Washington at a vigil on Thursday.
At 12:05 am Washington left The Capitol and spoke with a group of people on the street. Two minutes later Cranston, Butler and Smith left the bar to smoke cigarettes. Washington approached Butler again, talked to her and called her “good looking,” the documents state.
Cranston responded by saying something to the effect of, “she’s taken, move along, mind your business,” according to court documents. An argument escalated and Washington punched Cranston twice, stumbling him.
“It is unclear from the video if Defendant fell down, but in any event, Defendant immediately recovered to his feet and within five seconds Defendant was on his feet and produced a handgun from his waist, holding it at his side in his right hand as he walked towards Washington,” Deputy District Attorney J. Michael Swart wrote.
Smith and Butler got in between Cranston and Washington as both parties continued to argue. Prosecutors say Butler may have obstructed Washington’s view of the gun, and that Sali’s claim that Washington was “completely undeterred by the sight of Cranston’s handgun” is speculative.
Washington started walking down Oregon Avenue away from Smith and Butler, before Butler walked towards him while recording a video on her cell phone. Smith followed and called Washington a name, and they began struggling. It was then that Cranston fired his handgun, the documents state.
“Defense in their motion states that Washington turned at and squared towards Cranston. The State disagrees with this statement and the video will demonstrate this is incorrect. As is the defense’s representation that Cranston immediately rendered aid to Washington,” Swart wrote. “Rather, the video time stamp shows that for seventeen seconds, Cranston looked around with his firearm still at his side and it was not until 12:09:39 am, that he walked to and leaned over a dying Barry Washington, eventually rendering aid.
A total of 26 seconds passed between Washington punching Cranston, and Cranston shooting Washington. Prosecutors say that Cranston had no right to use deadly force, and point to Smith’s interview with police where he said he didn’t fear for his life and was surprised Cranston shot Washington.
“Cranston’s belief about the need for deadly force is fallacious since his actions were unreasonable for the following reasons: First, Cranston faced no imminent danger of suffering serious physical injury or death. Second, Cranston’s response to use deadly force in response to at best a continuing misdemeanor assault was astonishingly disproportionate,” Swart wrote.
Cranston’s bail hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8, and the District Attorney’s Office requested it be closed to the public.