KINGMAN – Alfredo Gerardo Blanco, who at the end of January was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Sidney Cranston Jr., was sentenced to natural life in prison Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.
Blanco killed Sidney Cranston Jr. on June 16, 2015 and buried his body on a ranch east of Kingman. Cranston was missing for 19 months before Bill Sanders, a longtime acquaintance of Blanco, led FBI agents to the body in January 2017. Sanders has since been ordered to serve community restitution and one year probation for his role in concealing Cranston’s body.
Sanders testified during the trial, under the conditions of his plea agreement, and said he and Blanco were at a property in Kingman before they both went to a ranch east of Kingman owned by Don Bishop. Sanders said Blanco may have been at the property some 15 minutes before he arrived. Upon arrival, Blanco told Sanders he had something to show him. That was the body of Sidney Cranston Jr.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, multiple members of the Cranston family, as well as longtime friends, spoke about the lingering effects of Blanco’s actions. They also urged Blanco to turn to God.
“The days, months and years that followed were torture,” said Sidney’s brother, Chris Cranston, reading a statement from his sister regarding how the family didn’t know what happened to their loved one for around a year and a half.
Chris Cranston had a statement of his own as well, saying that Blanco has left a “trail of sorrows.”
“I do not have the vocabulary capability or the eloquence to properly express or communicate the heartache, despair, the sleepless nights, the tears and just plain sadness Al Blanco has caused,” he said.
Blanco was also sentenced to 1 ½ years in prison for being found guilty of concealment of a dead body, and another year in prison for being found guilty of tampering with physical evidence. The court noted those sentences were “academic” as Blanco will never be let out of prison based on being found guilty of first-degree murder. He was also ordered to pay around $23,000 in restitution.
However, Blanco continued to claim his innocence.
“The only thing I can say is I’m not guilty. You guys are going to send the wrong person to prison,” Blanco said before adding that it was Bill Sanders who committed the murder.
The Cranston family wasn’t buying it.
“From our perspective he had no remorse and is lacking in conscience completely,” Chris Cranston said. “Throw this one in prison and swallow the key. Let him live with the fact he will only leave prison when he’s in a body bag.”
After the sentencing, Chris Cranston said he felt relieved, along with other mixed emotions.
“This was all I could do,” he said. “I can’t bring Sid back to life, I can’t make Al un-kill my brother. He can’t take it back, what’s done is done. But I know I’ve done everything humanly possible.”
He added that if it wasn’t him advocating for justice for his brother, it would have been someone else because Sidney had so many who loved him.
“Blanco was never going to get away with this,” he said. “He was never going to get away with it.”
Alfredo Gerardo Blanco now has 20 days to file a notice of appeal.