Witnesses portray late Nichols Hill fire chief's wife as victim, killer

Attorneys for both sides made opening statements Wednesday morning in the El Reno, Oklahoma, murder trial of Rebecca Bryan, who is accused of shooting her husband, Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan, at their Mustang home.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: May 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm •  Published: May 8, 2013

— Rebecca Bryan had sex with at least two men, one of them a stranger, and tried to seduce other men in the days before her husband was shot to death, according to a prosecutor and a witness who testified Wednesday at her murder trial.

Bryan is accused of killing Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan, her husband of 33 years, at their Mustang home on Sept. 20, 2011.

Debbie Proctor, a friend of Rebecca Bryan's, was among a group of people who rode with Bryan to the hospital after her husband was shot. She told jurors Bryan showed her a photo on her cellphone of another man's penis during the ride and told Proctor she had sex with the man that day.

Proctor testified Bryan told her she felt guilty about having sex with another man on the day her husband was shot.

Bryan also told her she had sex with a man she met at a Dallas bar four days before the shooting.

Attorneys for both sides made opening statements Wednesday morning as Bryan's trial got underway in Canadian County District Court.

Bryan's defense attorney argued the couple had a strained marriage but had reconciled before an intruder shot Keith Bryan, 52, in front of his client, telling her the Nichols Hills fire chief should have hired him.

Keith Bryan was shot just after 10 p.m. at the couple's house, 1320 W Rose Hill Drive. He died the next day at a hospital.

Investigators turned their attention to Rebecca Bryan, 54, after a gun identified as being used in the shooting was found in a clothes dryer at the house.

The gun belonged to the Bryans, and a box and ammunition was found under Rebecca Bryan's side of the mattress in their bedroom, police said.

During his opening statement to the jury, Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse said Rebecca Bryan ended the couple's 33-year marriage when her affection for a former lover boiled over.

“From all outward appearances, it seemed like they had a good marriage,” Hesse said.

“Toward the end, though, it was a marriage in name only. The defendant was seeking love and attention from many men.”

Rush to judgment?

Gary James, Rebecca Bryan's attorney, dismissed prosecutors' portrayal of his client as disaffected and unemotional while paramedics tried to revive her husband.

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