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Murder trial testimony: Ex-lover said wife called him hours before Nichols Hills fire chief's shooting

BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: May 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm •  Published: May 9, 2013

“She was laughing, all the time talking about terrible things,” Hickman said. “I just couldn't understand it. There was nothing funny that I could hear on her side of the conversation.”

Prosecutors have tried to portray Rebecca Bryan as lacking emotion and behaving inappropriately in the hours after the shooting. Previous witnesses described her showing off a photo of another man's penis as they drove to the hospital. She said she had sex with the man earlier that day.

Hickman said Bryan's strange behavior started almost as soon as she arrived at the house.

She was on the phone nearly nonstop for several hours while close friends and family sat on the back porch and police started investigating, Hickman said. She told several people Keith Bryan had died even though she was told by others that he was still alive and going into surgery at the hospital.

“While she was on the phone she said she would be planning a funeral for the next three or four days,” Hickman said. “I said, ‘Becky, no he is still alive.' She said, ‘Really?'”

Becky Bryan also complained that it would be difficult to sell her home if people knew someone had died in it, Hickman said.

What most offended Hickman, though, was Becky Bryan's laughter. Hickman sobbed on the stand as she talked about Keith Bryan's death. She said she eventually had to leave the scene because her emotions got the better of her.

“I couldn't hold it together,” Hickman said. “I couldn't be strong because I loved Keith.”

Hickman and another witness, EMSA paramedic James McClung, also gave testimony that the story Becky Bryan told them was different from the version she gave police.

Both said Bryan told them she was coming into the living room from the bedroom when she saw the intruder standing over her husband. She told police she was sitting on a chair in the living room when the intruder walked in and shot Keith Bryan.

McClung also told the jury Becky Bryan was more concerned with preserving fingerprints in the living room than the well being of her husband.

“She was excited about us not touching anything,” McClung said. “Not once was I asked how he was doing, if he was still alive.”

Bryan's defense attorney has argued the couple had a strained marriage but reconciled before the shooting.

Investigators turned their attention to Rebecca Bryan after they found a gun, a glove, a shell casing and a blanket with bullet holes in the dryer in the home's utility room. The gun, which belonged to the Bryans, was later identified as the weapon used to shoot Keith Bryan.

Testimony in the case is scheduled to continue Friday. Mark Holbrook is expected to resume his testimony and be cross-examined.

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