EL RENO — Before he was fatally shot, allegedly by his wife, Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan told others his marriage was as good as it had ever been.
“If we needed to go through what we went through, it was all worth it,” he told a pastor the month before he was shot in the head at his Mustang home on Sept. 20, 2011.
A jury trial for his widow, Rebecca Bryan, 53, is set to begin Monday in Canadian County District Court. She is charged with first-degree murder.
If convicted, she faces life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Her defense is that she didn't do it, and her attorney, Gary James, has filed a notice that he will put on testimony the victim's statements about the strength of their marriage.
The victim told a son the day he was shot that they “were as happy as they had ever been,” according to the defense notice.
He told the pastor, Jim McNabb, on Aug. 11, 2011, that “this past year has been the best year of our marriage,” according to the notice.
He told the Nichols Hills police chief, Richard Mask, that he was devastated when his wife filed for divorce, that he was very much in love with her and that he was aware she had been involved with another man, according to the notice.
He told a neighbor he had taken his wife for granted and was intent on fixing their relationship, according to the notice.
A prosecutor Tuesday declined to comment on the defense notice because the trial is so near.
Keith Bryan, 52, died at a hospital on Sept. 21, 2011.
He and his wife were married more than 30 years. She filed for divorce in January 2010 but took no further action.
In a 911 phone call, Rebecca Bryan blamed an intruder for the shooting.
She was arrested after the handgun used in the shooting was found in the clothes dryer inside the home.
On the night of the shooting, Rebecca Bryan had called a man she'd had an affair with in 2009 and said “she still loved him ... and that she was thinking of buying a house near where” he lives, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing and court records. She also had said she “was going to be inheriting a significant amount of money.”
After the shooting, she admitted to a friend she had sex with a different man earlier that day, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.
District Judge Gary Miller is set to meet with a prosecutor and the defense attorney Wednesday morning to discuss pending legal motions.
Among the defense motions is one to limit prosecution testimony about Rebecca Bryan's demeanor after the shooting.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse told the judge, “The evidence of … her lack of grief following the shooting of her husband is relevant because it shows the defendant's consciousness of guilt.”