EL RENO — 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.
Jurors were swayed by prosecutors' arguments that an intruder bent on killing Keith Bryan would have brought his own tools and especially his own gun.
Rebecca Bryan's repeated infidelity also hurt her case.
Witnesses testified at length about several sexual encounters in the days leading up to the killing. Bryan also had an extramarital affair with Mark Holbrook, of Hugo, who testified she repeatedly contacted him long after he ended the affair in January 2010.
She boasted to friends of sex she had with strangers the night before the shooting while attending a work conference in Tulsa and four days earlier while attending a wedding in Dallas. Another man testified she stopped at his house in McLoud on her way home from Tulsa and they had sex hours before the shooting.
Several friends and family members testified Rebecca Bryan showed them a photo of the man's penis and bragged about the tryst while she rode with them to the hospital to see her husband after he was shot.
Holbrook also testified about voice mails and text messages Bryan left him less than three hours before the shooting in which she said she still loved him, expected to get a large inheritance soon and planned to buy a house so she could be near him.
Jurors listened to a recording of an interview between OSBI agents and Rebecca Bryan hours after the shooting. She said she and her husband were “very much in love.”
“Has there ever been a greater mischaracterization of a marriage than that?” Hesse asked jurors. “She was absolutely obsessed with Mark Holbrook. She killed Keith Bryan because she was in love with another man.”
Keith Bryan was shot once in the side of the head. Rebecca Bryan claimed the shot was fired by an intruder who she saw walk in the house from the garage. But Keith Bryan never turned his head to look at his shooter.
Hesse said he kept his head forward because the gunman was someone he loved who hid the gun under a blanket they used to keep warm as they cuddled on their couch.
“This was the work of a coward,” Hesse said. “This was someone who had to sneak up behind her husband so he wouldn't see her. This is the work of Keith Bryan's wife.”
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