Trial begins in slaying of Kingman real estate agent
KINGMAN — The trial of a man accused of killing a Kingman real estate agent began Tuesday.
Alfredo Gerardo Blanco, 62, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Sidney Cranston Jr., whose body was found about 18 months after his murder, buried on a remote property east of Kingman.
Blanco also is charged with tampering with physical evidence and concealing a dead body. He is being held in Mohave County Jail in Kingman without bond.
In his opening statements, Deputy Mohave County Attorney Bob Moon said that on June 16, 2015, Blanco took Cranston, 40, up to a 200-acre ranch about 20 miles east of Kingman, where he shot him with a 12-gauge shotgun. It took several minutes for Cranston to die, Moon said.
Blanco, who was a handyman working for Cranston, allegedly put Cranston’s body in the shovel part of a backhoe and dumped him in a hole that Blanco had dug.
Moon said that Blanco, speaking Spanish, told another man that he had several rings he wanted to sell. The rings were Cranston’s wedding ring and another ring. The man, who also knew Cranston, went to police.
Cranston’s remains were found Jan. 7, 2017, buried behind a barn on the ranch. Cranston was killed by a single gunshot and his death was ruled a homicide. Blanco reportedly was the last person to see Cranston alive.
Moon also said that Cranston’s and Blanco’s phones were both located in Kingman on that day and Blanco’s phone was located at the ranch.
An FBI agent and Kingman police officers interviewed Blanco at the police department in June 2015 when it still was considered a missing person case. FBI agents arrested Blanco on Jan. 11, 2017, at a medical facility near Phoenix.
Blanco’s attorney, Robin Puchek, said the issue the jury needs to decide is who killed Cranston — Blanco or his co-defendant, Bill Sanders. Sanders also was at the ranch when Cranston was murdered, Puchek said, and kept the secret of the murder for 18 months.
“How do we know that Bill Sanders was not the one who did the shooting?” Puchek asked.
It was not a credible claim that Blanco threatened Sanders to keep quiet, Puchek said, arguing that the two were close friends. Puchek also said it was possible that Sanders shot at a snake and accidentally hit Cranston.
Sanders pleaded guilty to concealing a dead body and is awaiting his sentence. He is expected to testify at Blanco’s trial.
Blanco’s trial before Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert is expected to last about two weeks.