Wife of slain Nichols Hills fire chief booked into jail on first-degree murder complaint

Rebecca Bryan facing first-degree murder complaint in shooting death of husband, Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: September 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm •  Published: September 23, 2011

— Police arrested the wife of a slain fire chief Friday after investigators found her story about a gun-wielding home intruder didn't square with evidence at the crime scene.

Rebecca Bryan, 52, was arrested at a hotel in Oklahoma City about 12:20 p.m. Friday on a first-degree murder complaint in the shooting death of longtime Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan. She was placed in the Canadian County jail in El Reno.

Keith Bryan, 52, was shot once in the head Tuesday night in the Bryans' home in Mustang.

In two 911 calls made by Rebecca Bryan on the night of the shooting, she told a dispatcher a man about 25 or 26 years old wearing a hooded sweatshirt shot her husband before apologizing and saying the chief should have hired him. She said the intruder entered and exited the home through an unlocked garage door and drove away in a small, dark truck.

Keith Bryan was rushed to a hospital where he died the next morning.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said police found a Ruger .380-caliber handgun, a spent shell casing and a glove in a clothes dryer at the home. Ammunition and a box for the gun were found between the mattress and box spring of the bed in the master bedroom.

The gun was matched by forensics investigators to a projectile found in the center couch cushion where Keith Bryan was sitting when he was shot.

“The front-loading clothes dryer where the items were found was located in the utility room,” Brown said.

The utility room was not in the pathway Rebecca Bryan told police the intruder took from the garage to the living room and back.

Brown said investigators still are looking into a possible motive in the killing. Although Rebecca Bryan, a real estate agent, had filed for divorce from Keith Bryan in January 2010, they were living together in the home at the time of his shooting. The Bryans have two grown sons who live in their own homes.

Brown would not discuss whether investigators had found gun powder residue or other forensic evidence on Rebecca Bryan's hands or clothes.

“There are still a lot of forensic tests in this going on with different pieces of evidence,” Brown said.

Brown said she doesn't know whether the gun was recently purchased or had been owned by the family for any length of time.

Oklahoma City fire officials initially took extra security precautions because of the story Rebecca Bryan told investigators about an intruder who was disgruntled about not being hired by her husband.

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