EL RENO — Rebecca Bryan's attorney continued Wednesday to challenge authorities testifying at her murder trial for how they handled the investigation of her husband's shooting, but a crime scene investigator hit back, saying Bryan obviously lied to OSBI agents about the shooting.
Francia Thompson, a crime scene investigator for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, testified about evidence found in the Bryan home in the hours after Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan, 52, was shot to death Sept. 20, 2011.
Becky Bryan, 54, claimed an intruder came in to the house through the garage and shot her husband once in the head. She said the man apologized to her and said her husband should have hired him. She said the man left the house the way he came in.
Investigators turned their attention to Becky Bryan after they found a gun, a spent shell casing and a rubber glove wrapped in a bullet-riddled blanket in the dryer in the home's utility room, which is not on the path from the garage to the living room.
The gun, later matched to the bullet fired into Keith Bryan's head, belonged to Becky Bryan and its serial number matched the serial number on a gun box under her side of the mattress in the couple's bedroom.
OSBI agents testified at length the past two days about the search of the Bryan home at 1320 W Rose Hill Drive. Gary James, Becky Bryan's attorney, succeeded Tuesday in getting case agent Shawn Wright to agree he could have taken further steps, such as fingerprinting the dryer.
James tried to continue that tactic Wednesday, but Thompson said there was no point in fingerprinting the dryer. Bryan told police and OSBI agents she followed the intruder out of the living room and the garage door and saw him get into a small dark pickup and drive away.
“From the statement the defendant gave law enforcement over and over again, the intruder never left that path to put anything in the dryer,” Thompson said. “At that point, it was clear she was lying. We would expect to find her prints there. It's her home.”
James later got angry as he questioned Thompson about a witness who said he saw a pickup driving near the area of the shooting that matched Becky Bryan's description of the intruder's pickup.
The witness said he saw a small dark pickup on State Highway 152 and Czech Hall Road that drove east toward a bar about 10:05 p.m. the night of the shooting.
The only entrance and exit from the Bryans' neighborhood feed onto State Highway 152, and Czech Hall is the first major intersection to the east.
Thompson said she took the report two days after the shooting while she was at the Mustang Police Department and told two other investigating agents about it.
“Both of those agents have taken the stand in this case and said they did not have that information,” James said, his tone raising.
Thompson said she didn't write a report on the interview until she rediscovered it in her notes last month.
“It was an unintentional oversight,” Thompson said.
No one followed up with the witness until a few weeks before the trial began.
“Not until 18 months after the fact,” James said, his face reddening as his volume rose. “No one went out to the businesses that might have had surveillance video and looked and said, “Hey there's the killer. There is his pickup just like this woman has been saying.'”
Testimony during the first week of the trial focused mostly on Becky Bryan's behavior in the days leading up to the shooting and the hours immediately afterward.
James has argued investigators rushed to a conclusion that Becky Bryan shot her husband and ignored other leads. He has also brought up a burglary at the home of the Bryans' son in which a gun identical to the one found in the dryer was stolen, suggesting it could have been used to shoot Keith Bryan.
Testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday.