EL RENO — 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.
Another man, a real estate client, testified she had sex with him at his home in McLoud on the day of the shooting. While on the way to the hospital after the shooting, she showed friends a cellphone photo of the man's penis, according to other testimony.
One friend testified at the trial that she admitted to having sex with a man she met at a bar in Texas four days before the shooting.
She was arrested after the gun used in the shooting and other evidence was found inside a clothes dryer at the home.
In the victim impact statement, Trent Bryan also wrote about his embarrassment over the revelations of his mother's affairs.
“I have a hard time facing it most days,” Trent Bryan wrote. “I am hopeful with time my dad will only be remembered for the man he was and not for the details behind his death.”
He wrote that he has been emotionally torn.
“I have struggled with knowing what the right thing to do is, and I have been pulled in many directions,” he wrote. “I have wanted to protect my mom from hurt & suffering but at the same time I wanted justice for my dad & knew he deserved that.”
He also wrote, “My 5-year-old son Jackson frequently asks questions and I don't know how to respond or what to say to him. I don't want him to forget his Pappy but at the same time I want to avoid the question of where his grandma is and why she is there.”
Rebecca Bryan did not testify at the trial. Jurors did hear a recording of the interview she had with police at the hospital a few hours after the shooting.
“We were quite in love,” she said in the interview. “He's like the most amazing husband.”
After the sentencing Tuesday, the current Nichols Hills fire chief said he was just glad the case is over.
“That's the main feeling,” Terry Hamilton said.
He said the tragedy brought Nichols Hills firefighters together.
“It has really made us closer as a fire department,” Hamilton said. “The first three or four months were real difficult. They were hard to cope with and deal with, with a thousand things that we had to do, but we got through that.”