Fatally shot Nichols Hills fire chief said marriage was good

Murder trial for his widow is set to begin Monday in El Reno.
by Nolan Clay Published: May 1, 2013

— 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.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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