Blanco’s defense argues real estate agent’s death was an accident

January 17, 2019

KINGMAN — The defense for Alfredo Gerardo Blanco, who is on trial for first-degree murder, got the chance to make its opening statements Wednesday morning.

Robin Puchek, Blanco’s attorney, provided his opening statements regarding what he said “the defense believes is the most important evidence for you to consider in this case,” he told the jury.

Puchek said he believes the evidence presented to the jury will negate “the state’s theory that Al Blanco lured Sidney Cranston to this location for the purpose of doing him in for some sort of financial gain.”

He first noted testimony will be heard that Cranston and Blanco were friends and that Blanco worked for Cranston, and that the two would routinely travel to properties together.

He also spoke to the state’s allegation that there was a financial motive in the alleged murder, and told the jury that there would be no evidence proving that point. He also said that any evidence of financial hardship is on behalf of Sanders.

He said bank records that will be provided to the jury will show Blanco was not suffering from financial hardship.

Puchek also talked in greater detail about Sanders, who he said is the only person implicating Blanco. Puchek said Sanders told the FBI that Blanco had admitted to him that he had accidentally shot Cranston while “poking around” for a snake in the bathroom.

He said that while the state may not buy the snake-hunt explanation, evidence will corroborate it through testimony from Don Bishop, the property owner. Puchek said that testimony will speak to a rattlesnake problem on the property.

He also noted that the autopsy, and associated testimony to be heard in court, will show that the pellets found in Cranston’s body were “consistent with bird shot,” like would be used for trying to kill a snake.

And the hole the state alleges was dug in order to bury Cranston, Puchek said evidence will show that hole was preexisting and that it was used for changing oil in vehicles.

He then talked about Sanders’ interview with the FBI. When asked why he did not come forward sooner, Sanders reportedly said that he had been threatened by Blanco. But Puchek said that Blanco was in Surprise, as he suffered a stroke and was at a rehab center, for about a year before Sanders opened up to the FBI.

There was another component of Sanders’ interrogation with the FBI that Puchek found noteworthy, that being that special agent Brian Fuller and the FBI “laid it out for him.”

“‘If you say you killed Sid, you will go to jail,’” Puchek said in quoting law enforcement. “‘But if you say you are a witness, you won’t go to jail.’”

Puchek said the jury will need to decide if Sanders was covering for Blanco, or the other way around.