Rebecca Bryan guilty of murdering her husband in 2011

Rebecca Bryan was convicted Tuesday of murdering Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan in their Mustang home. The jury recommended a sentence of life without parole.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: May 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013
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Rebecca Bryan shed no tears Tuesday when jurors found her guilty of murdering her husband, just as friends testified she didn't cry after he was shot in their Mustang home.

It took jurors about four hours to find Bryan, 54, guilty of killing Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan because of her obsession with a former lover.

The jury recommended a sentence of life without parole.

Bryan got a hug and an apology from her attorney, Gary James, after the verdict was read.

Evidence found in the dryer in her utility room — including her Ruger .380 LCP pistol — convinced jurors her story of an intruder shooting Keith Bryan for not hiring him was fiction.

The case went to the jury about 1 p.m. after both sides made their closing statements. Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse focused on inconsistencies in the story Rebecca Bryan gave investigators after the shooting and her behavior both before and after Keith Bryan's death.

The items found in the dryer were the key evidence in the case. The gun, which was matched to the bullet used to shoot Keith Bryan, a spent shell casing and a left-handed rubber glove were found wrapped in a bullet-riddled blanket.

The gun was matched by serial number to the gun box kept under her mattress. She was known to carry the gun in her purse. The utility room was not on the path Rebecca Bryan repeatedly said the killer took as he entered and exited the home.

She said she followed the intruder out her garage door after he shot her husband and saw him get into a small dark pickup.

“If this person immediately after shooting Keith Bryan departed the house out the garage door, how could they have deposited that gun, the blanket and the casing in the dryer without the defendant knowing about it?” Hesse asked.

James tried to raise doubt by citing mistakes made by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents as they searched the Bryan home in the hours after the shooting.

Agents didn't fingerprint or DNA test many items, including the gun and the dryer door.

“All of these things are not done because of tunnel vision,” James said. “There is so much reasonable doubt in this case from the physical evidence. This case is a rush to judgment.”

James' arguments couldn't convince jurors. Bryan's story about an intruder was implausible from the beginning because all the evidence in the dryer came from her home. The gun was hers. The blanket was a fire-themed throw blanket kept on the back of their couch. And the glove had her DNA in it.

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