Wife of slain Oklahoma fire chief arrested on murder charge

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 23, 2011 6:14 PM
Wife of slain Oklahoma fire chief arrested on murder charge

By Steve Olafson

MUSTANG, Okla (Reuters) - Police arrested the wife of a slain Oklahoma fire chief on Friday and accused her of murder, saying she lied when she told police a lone intruder upset about a job killed her husband, authorities said.

Police found the handgun used to kill Keith Bryan in the family clothes dryer. Rebecca Louise Bryan, 52, was arrested at an Oklahoma City hotel and taken to the Canadian County Jail in El Reno, where she will be charged with murder, officials said.

Police said they knew of no motive in the slaying earlier this week and declined to say if the woman gave a statement at the time of her arrest, but they acknowledged she had filed for divorce in January 2010. The divorce was never finalized.

Bryan had previously told police a lone gunman entered the couple's home in an Oklahoma City suburb on Tuesday night and shot her husband in the head as he sat on the couch watching television.

She claimed the gunman apologized to her and said her husband should have given him a job before fleeing.

Police found the handgun in the clothes dryer during the initial search of the home, along with a glove and a spent shell casing, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

Two boxes of ammunition and a box that had contained the gun were found between the box springs and mattress of the couple's bed on the side where the wife slept, Brown said.

A slug recovered from a couch cushion matched the handgun, a Ruger LCP, she said.

The couple had been married since 1978 and had two grown sons, both of whom were in the hotel room where deputies arrested her around midday on Friday.

Keith Bryan, 53, was the fire chief of Nichols Hills, a small, affluent city located on the north side of Oklahoma City, the state capital.

He had worked for the fire department since 1981. A memorial service for him is scheduled for Saturday in Mustang, a quiet suburban town about 10 miles outside Oklahoma City.

(Edited by Karen Brooks and Cynthia Johnston)