EL RENO — The 33-year marriage of Keith and Rebecca Bryan ended abruptly when he was shot in the head Sept. 20, 2011, in the couple's Mustang home.
Testimony from the first week of Becky Bryan's murder trial supports the argument made by prosecutors that the relationship never recovered from an extramarital affair she began in 2009.
Becky Bryan has claimed an intruder came into their home at 1320 W Rose Hill Drive about 10 p.m. and shot her husband as he sat on the couch in their living room before apologizing to her and saying the fire chief should have hired him.
Prosecutors argue Bryan took a .380-caliber Ruger she was known to carry for personal defense, covered it in a throw blanket from the Bryan home and shot her husband at close range. Her gun was found in the dryer of the couple's utility room, along with a latex glove, a shell casing and the blanket, riddled with bullet-size holes.
Becky Bryan and Mark Holbrook, of Hugo, had an affair that ended in January 2010, Holbrook testified. He said that she continued to contact him long after he ended the relationship and both pledged not to contact each other.
He testified that Bryan left him a voice mail three hours before the shooting, saying she still loved him, she expected to get a large inheritance soon and planned to move to Hugo to be near him.
Prosecutors argue Bryan's love for Holbrook boiled over in the days before her husband's shooting as she had sex with two men, one of them a stranger, and sent nude photos of herself to others in an attempt to seduce them before killing Keith Bryan.
Prosecutors and Becky Bryan's attorney, Gary James, agree that the couple's marriage became strained after she met Holbrook at a real estate class in summer 2009. The class was three days a week for three weeks, and the two became friends.
Both were married, and Holbrook said they parted ways nothing more than friends when the class ended. Weeks later, Holbrook and Bryan met again in Tulsa when they took the real estate test they had been studying for during the class.
Holbrook said they went to lunch after the test.
“At that point, we started talking more on a personal level,” Holbrook said. “We started to have feelings toward each other more than friends.”
The met a few weeks later at a park in Weleetka, roughly halfway between Holbrook's home in Hugo and Bryan's home in Mustang. Their mutual feelings grew.
As Bryan and Holbrook continued talking, they discussed leaving their spouses and getting married. They spent weekends together whenever they could both get away from work and family.
They began having sex in December 2009, he said.
Holbrook had moved out of his home but never filed for divorce. Becky Bryan filed for divorce in January 2010, just as she and Holbrook were set to spend a weekend together at a cabin she rented in Broken Bow.
Holbrook testified that was the longest amount of time he had spent with Becky Bryan, and his feelings started to change.
“I started to realize she wasn't the person I thought she was,” Holbrook said. “She became manipulative. She was wanting me to divorce my wife sooner than I wanted to. I wasn't going to do that. I was going to do it on my time.”
Holbrook decided to end things with Bryan. They both agreed to tell their spouses.
The next day, Holbrook got a call from Keith Bryan. Becky Bryan was also on the line. Holbrook said he confirmed the affair and apologized to Keith Bryan.
“I made a vow to him not to have any more contact with her,” Holbrook said. “He agreed we should try to reconcile with our spouses and get on with our lives.”
The Bryans got back together after the relationship between Becky Bryan and Holbrook ended. Friends testified that Keith Bryan put in extra effort to make her happy.
Jana Hickman, wife of Mustang Fire Chief Carl Hickman, said she has known the couple for more than 20 years. Shortly after they reconciled, the two couples went together to a firefighters' ball in Oklahoma City.
“Keith was very much a gentleman,” Hickman said. “He would pull a chair out for her. It was above and beyond what I had seen him do trying to keep her very happy.”
Keith Bryan reportedly told friends the marriage was going well, but Hickman said something still seemed strange.
“They were awkward,” she said. “They weren't as fun-loving when we would see them.”
Holbrook said Bryan showed up in his driveway in March 2010. A man got out of the car and approached him, but when Holbrook saw Becky Bryan in the car, he told the man not to come any closer and to get off the property. They did.
She showed up in Hugo again in February 2011. Holbrook was doing some work on his office when Bryan got out of the passenger side of a car and approached him.
Sex, inappropriate behavior
Becky Bryan's behavior got even stranger in the days before her husband's shooting, friends testified.
Debbie Proctor, who was with Bryan in the hours after her husband's shooting, said Bryan told her she had cheated on Keith Bryan four days before the shooting. She had gone to Fort Worth, Texas, for a friend's wedding, met a man at a bar and had sex with him.
The day before the shooting, Becky Bryan went to Tulsa for a work conference. While there, she met Bill Whitestarber, a Tulsa real estate agent.
Whitestarber testified he talked to Becky Bryan for no more than a few minutes that day. The next morning, he got several text messages from her inviting him to her hotel room.
Pictures attached to the messages, which were admitted into evidence, showed Becky Bryan naked. Whitestarber said he was “freaked out,” and texted Bryan back saying the photos were inappropriate and that he was at the conference with his fiance.
Prosecutors said Bryan sent similar messages to another man, captioning one picture of her genitalia, “Ride this, cowboy.”
On the way back from Tulsa on Sept. 20, she stopped by the McLoud home of Wes Huber. The two had sex before Becky Bryan drove back to Mustang, prosecutors said.
About 7 p.m., after Becky Bryan had returned home, she left a voice mail Holbrook would listen to the next day mentioning her love for him, a potential inheritance and her intention to buy a house in Hugo.
Just after 10 p.m., Becky Bryan called 911 to report Keith Bryan had been shot. Close friends came to the home to support her while police investigated.
Hickman said Bryan was on the phone nonstop in the hours after the shooting as friends and family sat on the back porch. She testified Bryan laughed while on the phone and retold gory details about the shooting numerous times.
Proctor testified that Becky showed a carload of people headed to the hospital to see Keith Bryan a photo of Huber's penis and asked if Proctor could believe she'd had sex with the man that day.
She later told those in the car that the only thing she felt guilty about was sleeping with another man on the day her husband was shot, Proctor said.
Kathy Thomas, a psychologist called to the stand Friday by Bryan's attorney, acknowledged Bryan's behavior was “bizarre” given the circumstances.
“It seemed to be she wasn't that concerned about her husband,” Thomas said.
AT A GLANCE
Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of Rebecca Bryan, who is accused of killing her husband, Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan. The trial will continue Monday.