A little after 10 pm on the night of September 20, 2011 in Mustang Oklahoma Rebecca Bryan called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher that an intruder had come into her home and shot her husband as he lay on the couch. She would claim the main, who she did not know, had come in through the garage door, shot her husband and then looked at her and apologized saying that “he should have hired me.” Keith Bryan, a local fire chief, lay dying on the couch while the intruder, according to Rebecca went back out the same door he had entered nd drove off in a small, dark pickup truck.
Apparently it seems that Rebecca also called some friends to comfort her in her time of need. Officers would arrive on the scene and while Rebecca's friends would later say that they were on the back porch Rebecca's behavior seemed odd as she made several phone calls to people calming recounting the gory details as to what had happened.
Keith had not died right away and was taken to the hospital where he would succumb to his injuries the following day. Friends would later testify that they rode with Rebecca to the hospital and that in the car she proceeded to show them a picture of a man's penis, telling them that she had had sex with the man earlier in the day.
The day after the shooting Rebecca allowed the police to search her home. Considering what the authorities would find it is odd that she had allowed this search willingly. Of course, then again, she must not have believed that that they would search beyond possibly the garage where she said the intruder had entered and left and maybe the living room where her husband had been shot. That is not how a police search works however. Inside the dryer of the home authorities would find a Ruger .380 pistol, a spent shell casing, a left handed rubber glove and a bullet riddled blanket. Prosecutors would quickly point out that the laundry room in which obviously the dryer was located was in no way in the way of the route supposedly taken by the intruder and at no point had Rebecca claimed he had been in that area.
Rebecca would be arrested on September 23rd and charged with first degree murder in the death of her husband. She would be convicted at trial and in July of 2013 would be sentenced to life without parole.
The Bryan's had been married for thirty-three years at the time of Keith's death. While Keith was a fire chief Rebecca was a real estate agent. Investigators quickly learned that in January of 2010 Rebecca had filed for divorce from Keith. It is unclear if they ever separated officially and by all accounts they had reconciled but it was the circumstances surrounding the filing of the divorce that became central in their case. Rebecca had started an affair in late 2009 with a man named Mark Holbrook. It seems that both Rebecca and Mark had decided to leave their spouses but only Rebecca had officially filed for divorce. Holbrook would later say that after moving out of the home he shared with his wife that he and Rebecca would spend a weekend together and that it had been the most significant time they had spent together. It was then that apparently Holbrook decided leaving his wife was a mistake and would later say that Rebecca pushed him to file for divorce, something he did not feel he was ready to do at that point. According to Holbrook he decided then to end the short term affair and they both went back to their spouses. He would say that Keith Bryan had contacted him after this and was informed of the affair, that he promised the man the affair was over and from his understanding everything would end. However, Holbrook would say that he would periodically hear or see Rebecca but never in a sexual way and in all cases it was a situation where she contacted him. On the day of the shooting, just a few hours before in fact, Holbrook would claim that Rebecca left him a voice mail saying that she still loved him and was about to get a large inheritance. She also stated she was considering buying a home near him in Hugo Oklahoma. He did not hear the voice message until the next day. Information was not clear as to if he saved the message or if at the time of hearing the message he had been informed of the shooting.
The day prior to the shooting Rebecca had been at a real estate conference. It was an overnight trip. A man at the conference would testify that on the first evening he had spoken to and met Rebecca briefly but they had apparently exchanged numbers, presumably for business, or at least that is what he thought. The following morning the man claims that he received several messages from Rebecca asking him to come to her hotel room. She had even sent him a text with a picture of her naked.
Yet another man would testify at her trial saying that on the day of the shooting Rebecca, who was his real estate agent, had come to his home on her way back from Tulsa and that the two had sex that day. He would claim that prior to this encounter that there had been no signs of anything between them. Prosecutors would say that this was the man in which she showed her friends pictures of on the way to the hospital after the shooting, bragging she had had sex with the man earlier that day.
A friend of Rebecca's would testify that Rebecca had told her that four days before the shooting she had met a guy at a bar and had sex with him. But, prosecutors would claim it was Holbrook that Rebecca really wanted and was the motive behind the shooting.
Obviously we have heard cases, time and time again, where a spouse is murdered and there is infidelity in the marriage. Being unfaithful is not an automatic jump to murder, but that does not mean a murder is not fueled by unfaithfulness, on either side.
While the prosecutors obviously showed evidence of her flings and affairs and did, as I said, base the motive on her desire to be with one of those men, the “nail” in her coffin came from the items found in the dryer of the home.
Prosecutors would argue that the gun that was found in the dryer of the home was generally kept in a box under Rebecca's side of the bed. The box was found there. They would also say that the glove found in the dryer contained Rebecca's DNA on the inside and that the bullet riddled blanket was one in which the couple generally kept on the back of their couch and was fire themed. They would argue, reasonably I might add, that if someone was going to enter a home and murder someone in the manner not only in which was done, but as she described, they would not have done so without bringing their own things. They also of course argued that even Rebecca's story did not lead the so called intruder near the laundry room where the evidence was found.
The defense would argue that neither the gun nor the dryer door were ever tested for fingerprints or DNA. They would also argue with a witness that a car similar to what Rebecca described was seen in the area at the time in which she had stated and that although surveillance cameras were available authorities had failed to look at them. The defense would claim that an “identical gun” to the one found in the dryer had been reported stolen by the couple's son a few months earlier. Research indicated that this had not occurred in the Bryan home but in the home of their adult son. To add to this prosecutors argued that the gun found in the dryer not only seemingly matched the one that went in the box under the bed but had been tested with ballistics to be the gun that fired the shot.
The trial took two and a half weeks to present and the jury deliberated about four hours before coming to their conclusion. A 2014 appeal by Rebecca failed as her conviction and sentence were upheld by the courts.