Rebecca Bryan sentenced to life without parole

Rebecca Bryan sat silently throughout the 35-minute sentencing Tuesday in El Reno, OK. Her attorney said she still maintains she is innocent, and she still claims that an intruder killed her husband.
by Nolan Clay Modified: July 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm •  Published: July 9, 2013

Despite her murder conviction, Rebecca Bryan still claims she is innocent of the 2011 fatal shooting of her husband, the Nichols Hills fire chief.

“What she had said early on of an intruder who fired these shots is still her position,” her attorney, Gary James, told a judge Tuesday at her sentencing. “She is an innocent woman.”

Canadian County District Judge Gary E. Miller ordered the widow to serve a life term in prison without the possibility of parole.

The judge refused Tuesday to suspend any of her prison time.

“The tragedy won't end for the family,” the judge said. “I wish I could fix that. I can't.”

Bryan, 54, plans to appeal. The former real estate agent sat silently throughout the 35-minute sentencing Tuesday.

She showed no emotion, even when a prosecutor read out loud a statement from one of her two sons about how much he misses his dad.

“I wish this would have never happened or there was something I could have done to prevent it but I must face reality & try to move forward,” Trent Bryan wrote.

“I miss my dad everyday and I miss the family I once knew everyday.”

About the trial

A jury May 21 rejected Rebecca Bryan's claim of an intruder and found her guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors chose for her the harshest punishment possible in the case — life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Keith Bryan was fatally shot inside their Mustang home the night of Sept. 20, 2011. He died at the hospital the next day. He was 52.

Keith and Rebecca Bryan had been married 33 years.

Prosecutor Paul Hesse told the judge she executed her husband without provocation, shooting him in the side of the head with her own pistol as he relaxed on a couch watching TV.

Her only reason “was to free herself from the confines of her marriage,” the prosecutor said.

Rebecca Bryan had a brief extramarital affair that ended in early 2010. Prosecutors put on evidence at the trial she wanted to reunite with a former lover, Mark Holbrook, of Hugo.

The former lover testified at the trial that she left a voice message for him hours before the shooting. In the message, she said she still loved him, was about to get a large inheritance and was thinking about buying a home in Hugo to be near him, according to his testimony.

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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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