Judge Beth Bagley this week sentenced Ian Cranston to 10 years in prison, including time served since he was jailed on Sept. 30, 2021, for the shooting of Barry Washington in downtown Bend in September, 2021. A jury convicted Cranston of manslaughter in the first and second degree, first-degree assault and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, but didn't charge him with the most serious charge of second- degree murder.
"I hope, contrary to your testimony at trial, if you had to do this all over again you would, in fact, do things differently. I can't imagine how you couldn't want to do it differently, how you couldn't think that you did wrong, that you couldn't realize now after more than a year how many lives you shattered. First and foremost, Mr. Washington's and his family, your family, yourself," Bagley told Cranston at a sentencing hearing on Nov. 28.
First-degree manslaughter is an automatic 10-year prison sentence in Oregon with no possibility of early release. Prosecutors recommended that Cranston serve the 10-year sentence with all other charges running concurrently. Lesser charges, like second-degree manslaughter, merged with higher charges on sentencing.
Washington's mother, Lawanda Roberson, told media after the verdict was announced that she was pleased, but after learning Cranston would only serve 10 years for the killing of her son that it felt like a slap on the wrist during her impact statement at Cranston's sentencing hearing.
"Your honor, when I heard the verdict, I was initially happy knowing this man is going to spend a lot of time in prison. But then I heard that he would only get 10 years in prison, which is a slap on the wrist for murdering my son, that it's heartbreaking and disappointing that he will be able to get out of prison before he's 40. He will be allowed to have kids and have a normal life. His mom will be allowed to see him and hug him while I have to visit my son at a cemetery," Roberson tearfully told the court.
“Your honor, when I heard the verdict, I was initially happy knowing this man is going to spend a lot of time in prison. But then I heard that he would only get 10 years in prison, which is a slap on the wrist for murdering my son.”—Lawanda Roberson
Roberson and other family members who gave impact statements denounced the defense's attempts to portray Washington as a gang member, Cranston's fiancee Allison Butler's choice to turn over footage of Washington's last seconds to news media, and the racism she believes motivated the shooting, as well as a torrent of racist abuse online after the shooting.
"I have received every horrible comment you can imagine under any social media post whenever I speak of justice for my son. To see the racist hateful comments about my son from people who have never met him in their life is something I'll never forget. Everyone can ignore, not mention, not acknowledge and not bring into evidence the clear racism that's involved in this case," Roberson said. "What's clear to me is that if my son was white he'd be alive today."
Roberson was joined over phone calls by several aunts, cousins and Washington's younger brother in delivering impact statements. Family described Washington as caring, outgoing and a charismatic mentor to his younger family members, and a dutiful son and nephew to his older family members. Many described learning about the shooting and immediately driving to Oregon only to learn on the way that Washington had passed. Washington moved to Bend less than a month before being shot to learn a trade while living with a longtime friend.
"He would have been better anywhere else but there, but now he's gone forever," said Tekerra Roberson, Washington's cousin. "He was the only male in my life to step up and be my father figure."
Cranston's defense attorney, Kevin Sali, said he disputed the facts of statements made during impact statements but didn't elaborate. Sali plans to appeal the conviction to a higher court. In Oregon an appeal must be made within 30 days of conviction, after which it is reviewed by a court judge who will determine if there were any legal mistakes made over the course of the trial. Judges typically don't allow new evidence or additional witnesses during the appeal process.
If the judge doesn't find any legal errors the defendant can again appeal to the Oregon State Supreme Court, but if the judge does find errors it can lead to an overturned conviction, a modified sentence or a new trial. The appeals process can take months or even years to be scheduled.