Judge rules on evidentiary motions in Cranston murder case
KINGMAN – Judge Rick Lambert took care of several pretrial matters in the first-degree murder case of Alfredo Gerardo Blanco, who is accused of killing real estate agent Sydney Cranston Jr. in 2015, ruling on six motions in limine and setting a final management conference for Sept. 10. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 25.
A motion in limine is a motion asking the court for an order limiting or preventing certain evidence from being presented by the other side at the trail of a case.
In an Aug. 21 hearing at Mohave County Superior Court, Lambert denied the state’s motion to not allow defense counsel to bring in the fact that the defendant admitted to being on pain medication.
The judge granted all other state motions, including that defense counsel may pursue voluntarism, but cannot go into Miranda or Edwards issues.
Public defender Robin Puchek had sought to preclude a recording of police and FBI interrogation of Blanco while he was at a rehabilitation center in the Phoenix area in which he was not read his Miranda rights.
He was not under arrest at the time and was free to end the interrogation at any time, which he eventually did.
Lambert also granted a motion to preclude evidence of a request for a reward from an individual who offered information on the case.
During the police investigation, and before co-defendant William Sanders came forth with information about the death and burial of Cranston’s body on a ranch east of Kingman, an attorney contacted the victim’s family indicating a client had information about what happened and where the remains were buried. Cranston was missing for 19 months before his body was discovered in January 2017.
The person wanted to disclose the information in exchange for a financial reward. The reward request will not be admitted at trial because it would be hearsay and irrelevant, the judge said.
Lambert granted the state’s motion that defense counsel may pursue a third-party culpability theory as to Sanders only. He also granted a motion that neither party shall mention polygraph devices used, and defense counsel may not bring up or question witnesses regarding Blanco’s statements about the shooting being accidental.
Finally, Lambert granted a motion to compel defense counsel to disclose the identities and credentials of expert witnesses. During pretrial interviews, the defense had referred to materials written by people who are suggested to be experts in their fields.
On Aug. 20, Mohave County Superior Court issued more than 20 subpoenas of witnesses for the jury trial, including FBI special agents, Kingman Police Department detectives, the ranch owner, co-defendant Sanders and Syd Cranston’s brother, Chris Cranston.