tv Dateline MSNBC November 20, 2021 2:00am-3:00am PST
i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> oh, my god. >> a fire chief murdered. his wife the only witness. >> this detective knew them both. >> she started telling me about a young man coming into their home and shooting keith. >> her job now, solve this crime. and clue number one was a doozy. >> she said that after he shot keith, he turned to her and said, you know, i'm sorry, ma'am. >> i'm sorry? a killer who apologized?
and that was just the start. a gun stashed in the dryer. a man's glove, but whose dna. a woman with a whole lot to reveal. >> she tossed her top to me. >> she just whipped it off? >> i was shocked. ♪♪ hello and welcome to "dateline." keith brine was a devoted fire chief who spent his a year helping those in trouble. the local hero had the job of his dreams and a wife he adored, and then one night in the couple's home shattered the life they built and exposed secrets at the heart of a complicated crime. here's andrea canning with "mystery in mustang."
just about 20 miles southwest of downtown oklahoma city sits a town called mustang. once farmers and ranchers dotted the land. it's bigger now, but folks still hold tight to their roots. >> pretty quiet community for the most part. >> faith connects community here, and people stay lifelong friends. >> it is a small town feel. very much neighbors helping neighbors. >> in a place like mustang, neighbors know almost all there is to know about each other, for better or worse. >> 911, state your emergency. >> so when the unthinkable happened -- >> my husband is lying here gasping for air! >> -- it would be all the more startling when the secretings came tumbling out. >> i heard a lot of things that shocked me that i never would have imagined. >> had evil invaded mustang? >> i'm in mustang, america. who would [ bleep ] do that? >> or come from within? >> it created a lot of fear for a lot of people. >> that was my first real whodunit.
>> keith bryan was oklahoman to the core. proudly raised in the sooner state. he married his wife becky at 19, and they settled in mustang. pam woodard, an old friend of keith's, rolled out the welcome mat for the bryans when they moved to town. >> they became an integral part of our church, very active, very grounded, very helpful. >> they had two boys. trent and kent. >> becky was a good mom from what i could tell. she was a good mom. >> keith worked as a fireman, his dream job in the well-to-do oklahoma city enclave of nichols hills. jerry hamilton served alongside keith, and if the firemen were like brothers, the wives were lake sisters, says terry's wife kim. >> with the fire department, it is all families together. >> keith had a good sense of humor. he was outgoing.
and he was really driven to succeed. >> and he did. promoted all the way to fire chief in 1991. but keith never lost his personal connection with the people he served. >> he was one of the first responders in the oklahoma city bombing. >> he was. >> that's when he worked on that lady who was trapped forever underneath that rubble. keith wouldn't leave her. >> was he a hero in your eyes? >> oh, i think so. i was pretty proud of him as a friend for that. >> as for becky, she was a force in the community, too, working in real estate. her business often seemed more about the people than the money. >> becky had a very selfless side to her too. there were people that i know of, if they were upside down, she even at times was known to take her own money to closing and help like that. >> keith was elected city councilman in mustang. becky's business was thriving, and their marriage an example to others. >> she and keith did some premarital counseling for several years in our church.
>> so they were counseling other couples on how to have a good marriage. >> they were counseling other couples on how to have a good marriage. >> so it came as a surprise when in 2010 keith and becky hit a rough patch. the boys were grown and the empty nesters separated. becky moved out. david reddick, becky's brother, remained close to keith during the separation. >> he said he wanted to know how could he change to show that love to her in a greater way. >> what advice did you give keith? >> i told him to talk to her about it, that she was sensible. >> keith worked hard to win becky back with gifts and dates and loving notes. becky came home. >> he was telling some people that what all he had been through was worth it because it had made him even that much better of a husband. >> in the year that followed, keith kept up his campaign of romance.
september 20th, 2011, was no different. becky was at a real estate conference in tulsa. keith texted her sweet messages throughout the day. becky arrived home around 8:30 p.m. a friend came over to chat. keith, now ever attentive, made them iced tea. after the friend left, becky says she and keith settled down in front of the tv. on the bill that night, keith's choice. a classic scary movie, "carrie." then came the real horror. >> 911, state your emergency. >> it was becky. >> a young man about 25. >> then the phone cut out. what was she saying? dispatchers sent police to the house. >> headquarters to -- >> becky called back. >> i just called 911 on my cell phone. >> yes. >> are you coming to my house? >> she said an intruder shot keith in the head. >> my husband is lying here
bleeding on my couch right now. >> and the intruder was getting away. >> oh, my god. he's in a little itty bitty pickup, okay? he's going down my street. it's like a dark color. >> now the brave fire chief who dedicated his life to saving others was in urgent need of help himself. >> okay. i've got to go. >> no, ma'am, stay on the line with me. >> ems and police sped to the bryan house, but the questions came just as fast. who was this shooter, this intruder on the loose, and could he be found? an unfamiliar feeling spread through mustang streets and homes. fear. coming up -- >> after he shot keith, he turned to her and said, you know, i'm sorry, ma'am. >> a gunman who apologizes? what kind of intruder is that? when "dateline" continues. that? when "dateline" continues. metamucil psyllium fiber, gels to trap and remove the waste that weighs you down.
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oh, my god. oh, my god. you know, i'm in mustang, america. who would [ bleep ] do that? >> word went out a brazen intruder had shot fire chief keith bryan in his own home and within minutes, first responders swarmed the house, securing it as a crime scene. as keith was rushed to the hospital, his wife becky stayed behind. detectives were on their way and she spoke to her brother david on the phone.
>> she was crying and frantic. i said, settle down, it will be okay, who is with you? her son was there. >> gina hickman, a good friend of the family and wife of a fire chief herself, rushed over to the bryans. >> i went over and hugged her neck and told her how sorry i was, that god would get us through this. and she said, "i'm sorry, i know he was your friend too." >> keith's deputy chief terry hamilton reached becky on her cell. >> so i told her not to worry, they'll do a full investigation and they'll find -- they'll figure out who did it. >> at the house becky was on the rear patio on the phone with friends and family repeating the story of the armed intruder. >> we were sitting in open light around the patio and i was fearful. that they might come back. >> you thought right at that moment that this person she described could come back? >> yes, i did. >> we hadn't had anything like that happen before. >> tammy mcneil, a detective with the mustang police
department, was dispatched to the bryan house that night. and mustang being mustang, the victim and his wife were no strangers to the detective. >> what's your reaction when you hear it's keith? >> it was concerning to me because i knew this family. >> becky seemed relieved to see a familiar face. >> she called out my name and asked me to come sit by her on the back porch. and then she started telling me about a young man, approximately 25 years old, coming into their home and shooting keith in the head. >> and what did that young man say, according to becky? >> she said that after he had shot keith, he turned to her and said, "you know, i'm sorry, ma'am, but he should have [ bleep ] hired me." >> it seemed like a key detail, this apparent apology and explanation. becky had also recounted it to 911 dispatchers. >> he said "ma'am, i'm so
sorry," he said "but your husband should have hired me." >> do you have a gut reaction about that story? >> it was concerning to me because we are a small community. my first concern was, you know, is there somebody out there, where is he, and how are we going to find him? >> becky described the shooter as a man in his 20s with a big nose and wearing a hoodie. >> i was trying to get as much information out to other law enforcement agencies as well as our officers so they could start looking for him. >> was it possible keith knew the man? keith was in no condition to help investigators, but at the hospital, hopeful news. he was clinging to life. >> i told her, i said, he's going to surgery. and she said, really? >> keith made it through surgery, still in terrible shape, but alive in the icu. when becky arrived, the halls of the hospital were filled with friends, loved ones, and keith's firefighter brothers. it seemed half the town of mustang was there praying for keith. >> how hard was it for you to
see keith in that condition? >> it was very, very hard. you know, i would tell myself, you never know. i've heard so many stories of people having head injuries. and i know prayer is so powerful, and i know he had so many people praying. >> first thing that happens when you see becky in the hospital? >> we come up and hug each other. and she's crying. i mean, she started crying immediately when i grabbed her. she says, what am i going to do? what are we going to do? >> by morning, it was clear, keith would not pull through. those closest to him sensed it was time to say their goodbyes. >> what did you say to him? >> just -- i said, "you didn't deserve this" and "i love you.
good-bye." that was it. >> at keith's bedside, becky, keith's wife of 33 years, wept. and as keith slipped away, along with the sorrow was the lost hope that he could shed any light on who could have done this to him. no one believed keith bryan had an enemy in the world. so as the search for the apologetic intruder got under way, one clue was as simple as the victim's name. coming up -- >> there was a theory out there that perhaps this intruder was looking for a different fireman. >> -- when "dateline" continues. >> -- when "dateline" continues. hey, hey, hey! check it out! we got to get these lights set up. dad! ♪ ♪
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fire chief keith bryan, so tough, so brave, spent his career running toward danger. now his life had been cut short inside the safety of his own home. he left behind two dear sons and a wife to whom he had been so devoted. >> i think it was just such a shock and such a huge event and such a tragedy on so many levels. >> at the fire house keith led in nichols hills near mustang,
captain roger straka couldn't believe it. >> you have that gut-wrenching feeling that it's all exploded now and don't know what happened. >> it must have been such a weird thing to hear. >> it was. over the fire service years doing this type of work you tend to get calloused over, hide your feelings. when it hits close to home, you ask yourself why. >> detective mcneil was no rookie, but this was the first case of its kind she had ever seen in mustang. >> that was my first real whodunit homicide case. >> what significance does that have for you? >> it was very significant. i was nervous. i wanted to, of course, do a good job and make sure the right person went to jail for that crime. >> to find that person detectives needed to comb through every detail of becky's eyewitness account. mcneil and an agent from the oklahoma state bureau of investigation interviewed her again at the hospital the night of the shooting. >> the time is 1:23 in the morning.
what's your first name? >> becky bryan. >> becky talked about how close she and keith were especially after they made it through that rough patch. >> we were quite in love. i didn't even know he loved me until i filed for divorce. he really came to play. >> the investigators went over step by step how the shooting went down. >> what are you looking for when you go into that conference room to interview becky? >> how does this person know keith, can she describe him better, you know, things like that. >> and the door opened, and we were watching a loud movie, "carrie," and this young kid about 25 years old walks into the house and comes over to the carpet, and my husband didn't even have time to turn around. i looked just in time to see, and then he come up from here
and he shot him in the head right here. >> point blank. >> point blank, right here. >> it was then becky said that the shooter turned and spoke. >> it was unbelievably hideous but this guy, this is what he said, i knew he was nice, wasn't going to hurt me. he said, "i'm sorry, ma'am, but he should have [ bleep ] hired me." >> so a polite shooter. >> yes. she did describe him that way, yes. >> there it was again. that odd but clearly important detail. along with his polite apology, the shooter seemed to give away a motive. was he someone vying for a job in keith's fire department? keith's deputy, terry hamilton, didn't think so. >> i never was concerned about that. >> why not? >> for one thing, it had been four years since we had hired anybody, so nobody is going to sit and stew for four years and then all of a sudden get mad and go shoot the guy that didn't hire him. >> but if the shooter wasn't angry over a job in keith's fire
department, there was another possibility, one that neighbors of the bryans wondered about. keith often did projects on the house. was the killer someone who wanted a construction job and didn't get it? one neighbor told police that a few weeks earlier, a stranger had been driving around asking for work as a handyman. he said the man had a funny face and drove an old pickup truck, he also remembered seeing a similar truck the night of the shooting. >> are you interviewing neighbors? are you asking people if they saw anyone suspicious in the neighborhood, if they saw a truck in the neighborhood? >> yes, all of that was going on. >> what were they yielding? anything? >> very little. very little. >> then among the firefighters and their wives, a third entirely different idea was bandied about. no one is sure who said it first, but soon some were wondering out loud if keith hadn't been the intended target at all. >> there was a theory out there
that perhaps this intruder was looking for a different fireman. >> and why would anyone think that? not far from the bryans' home in mustang lived the oklahoma city fire chief. his name? keith bryant, bryan with a "t" at the end. >> the whole keith bryant theory, that maybe they got the wrong fire chief? >> you know, that did not occur to me until i got to the hospital and that's the first time somebody had brought up maybe mistaken identity. >> the buzz reached roger straka back at the firehouse. >> that story did come out, that possibly the person that done this got the wrong chief. it could have been anyone's theory as to what had happened. >> surely the oklahoma city chief hired and fired many more people than keith did. had the shooter been angry with him? a friend reached him by phone. he was safe and sound at a
conference on the east coast the night of the shooting, but there were problems with the mistaken identity theory. the two chiefs didn't look much alike, and the more keith's firemen brothers thought it over, the less likely it seemed. >> i still didn't think that story made sense. >> too far-fetched? >> yeah. it's real competitive to get hired on as a firefighter, so i just can't see somebody not getting hired and then killing the fire chief. and the oklahoma city fire department i don't think the fire chief really even has anything to do with the hiring process. >> so around mustang the questions were many, the answers few. people were watchful, certainly less at ease. >> i found myself wanting to close blinds early. >> did you have a moment of panic? >> a little bit, yeah. it was a little eerie for a day or two, not knowing what was going on. >> and while those around mustang wondered who and where
this invader was, investigators had found something at the crime scene. it would turn the fear and suspicion right around. >> the investigation heats up when police question a witness who has a whole lot to reveal. coming up -- >> no, no, no, no, no, don't take it off. >> she just tossed her top to me. >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues if you're on medicare and you want to explore your options, the deadline to enroll is december 7th. so, you should act now. where do i find the right medicare plan? at healthmarkets, they search many of the nation's most recognized carriers so they can help you find the right plan, at the right price that's the right fit for you. how long does it take? you could find a medicare plan in just minutes. my current plan only covers 80% of my costs. well, healthmarkets may find plans that cover the rest ... let you keep your doctor
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hello. i'm dara brown. here's what's happening. the cdc approved the covid booster shots for all adults 18 and older just ahead of the thanksgiving holiday. after months of negotiations the house passed president biden's historic $1.75 trillion build back better bill mostly along party lines. the bill which is to tackle climate change face as difficult
path in the senate. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm crail melvin. word had spread keith bryan's killer might have mistaken him for another fire chief with a similar name. for his fellow firefighters, it did not make sense it. was days after the shooting, and something else was becoming the talk of the town. the strange behavior of keith's wife becky. here again is "mystery in mustang." in the tight-knit community of mustang folks who knew each other so well for so long began to swap stories, memories of their friend keith, the hero, the dad, the loyal husband and friend. but also stories about his wife and the night keith was killed.
jana hickman, who had rushed to the bryans' home that night, was outside with becky and remembered hearing this not long after the crime. >> i heard her just say that -- something about it would be hard to sell the house because he had died in the house. >> did that sound really callous to you? >> being a realtor, i could see her thinking about that. it was a little odd, i thought. >> at the hospital some friends noticed that becky was agitated one minute, eerily calm the next. >> she wasn't emotional, she was pretty calm, talking to different people. >> whenever we met her, she was very calm. >> too calm? >> i anticipated her needing comfort, and i went to hug her, and she just kind of held her arms down straight and didn't seem to need that type of consoling. >> and instead of sticking close to keith's bedside in his last hours, they thought it was
strange that becky was often outside. >> she was sitting with her legs crossed up on the bench, out with her friends, smoking and just very casual. it was just completely bizarre. >> becky's brother david says he knows his sister best, and what the friends saw was just becky's way of coping. >> in your eyes was becky acting exactly the way a wife would act after a random senseless shooting? >> becky acted just like becky would act if someone come in and shot her husband and she was there. she was panicking. she didn't know what to do. she was doing anything she could to get control of her emotions. >> was becky known for sometimes saying inappropriate things? >> stupid things. >> maybe wrong time? >> yeah. yeah. i mean, becky wanted to control. she did not want to cry. she didn't want to be out of control for herself.
>> but becky's friends weren't the only people who found her demeanor odd that night. detective mcneil says that their taped interview with becky was full of jarring moments. for example, after telling police how much she loved keith, she had this to say about her fatally injured husband. >> i bought a condo, moved out, and he -- he was a [ bleep ] for 31 years. >> she described keith to us in what i thought was an inappropriate manner. >> as a matter of routine, they'd already tested becky's hands at the crime scene for gunshot residue. in the interview they asked her what she was wearing at the time of the shooting. >> so you were wearing the shirt and the panties? >> yes, yes. >> a tube top and panties that she still had on under new clothes. and that, says the detective, is when the interview took a revealing turn.
>> no, no, no, no, no. don't take it off. >> don't take your clothes off now. >> i'm going to put my shirt on. >> okay. should have clarified, wait till we finish. >> she grabbed the bottom of the top she was wearing, pulled it over her head, exposing her breasts, and then she tossed her top to me. >> was she wearing a bra? >> no. >> you didn't even ask her for the top? she just whipped it off? >> that's right. >> so what are you thinking when she -- >> i was shocked. >> the to investigators, becky's behavior was more than odd. it was suspicious. >> so you walked into this interview still giving becky the benefit of the doubt? >> absolutely. >> and you walked out of the interview thinking there's a possibility she's going to become an official suspect? >> at that time there was definitely a possibility, yes. >> when the interview ended, detective mcneil and the other investigator went back to the house, and that's where he made a key discovery in the utility room, in the clothes dryer.
a gun. >> that must have been kind of a bingo moment. >> that was a big moment for all of us because not only was the gun in the dryer, but the gun was wrapped in a blanket. a shell casing was in there as well, and also a glove. >> did you immediately think about the logistics of becky's story as far as where this man came in? where he exited? >> yeah. she had told us that he came into the home, shot keith, and walked directly back out the same way that he had come in. she made no mention of this man going into her laundry room, placing anything in the dryer. >> could there have been any explanation for why the gun was found in the dryer, different route than the route she had described? >> if there was, i didn't know what that was. >> investigators now suspected becky of lying about details, big and small. but they wanted more.
as they analyzed evidence from the scene, a call came in from someone in becky's phone contacts nicknamed "becky's prodigy." in fact, they noticed the unusual name when they looked at her phone the night of the shooting. >> becky prodigy lives in hugo, oklahoma. >> so she's a customer? >> yes. she's a realtor broker. >> actually, becky's prodigy was a man named mark holbrook, and when he learned of keith's murder, he called up investigators. he wanted them to know he and becky had had an affair. when it ended 19 months before the shooting, he apologized to keith and promised never to see becky again, but he wanted cops to know she had been in touch with him recently and a lot. >> she still loved him and that she would be moving so she could be near him, whether he wanted to be with her or not.
>> the affair had been a reason behind becky and keith's brief split. now investigators and the ex-lover hatched a plan. record a conversation between becky and her so-called prodigy. maybe becky would give something up to him. three days after keith was shot, becky's ex dialed her up. >> becky, how are you doing? >> thank you for calling me. >> becky seemed concerned about covering up the affair. >> if you could say that you knew or remembered a realtor by that name that you went to broker school with and that's it. >> and while she stuck to her story about the intruder who shot keith, she said she had news about him. >> and the guy that shot keith, he killed himself yesterday near the city. so i'm no longer in danger. >> well, that's good. that's good news. >> i know. so everything is good. >> we didn't have any information like that. law enforcement had not given her any information like that. >> the call rang all kinds of
alarm bells for investigators, but didn't yield a lot in the way of hard evidence. but cops thought they had the goods on becky in another way. by now, they had examined that weapon found in the dryer and concluded it belonged to becky. on september 23rd, the day before keith's funeral, becky was arrested and charged with his murder. >> what was her reaction? >> she seemed shocked. she was yelling things at us. >> an open and shut case? becky's brother said far from it. >> law enforcement here let us all down because what i want is the truth. >> in court, evidence would be examined, and the truth, it would turn out to be more bizarre than anyone could have guessed. coming up -- the secret life of the fire chief's wife. >> she just openly told me, "i had sex with a 29-year-old
client this morning, and i have a picture on my phone." >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues so now, he's free to become... wonderland will. deck the halls with printer paper! recycled of course. kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex. we still have 12 hours to australia. mucinex lasts 12 hours, so i'm good. now move! kim, no! mucinex lasts 3x longer for 12 hours. here comes the interception. oh... -shawn? yes. thank you. you're welcome. have a great day. if it's “that will leave a mark season,” it's walgreens season.
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becky bryan, the once whole well liked wife of fire chief and city councilman keith bryan, stood accused of a vicious crime. her tight circle of friends drifted away, but not everyone in town believed she was a killer. >> i don't believe that becky bryan shot keith bryan. >> gary james is a friend of the
friend of the bryans and a prominent oklahoma defense attorney. he says the case against his client becky doesn't add up. >> you believe an innocent woman is sitting behind bars? >> sure. sure. she had a lot of bad circumstances, but i do believe somebody shot keith and ran from that house. >> her attorney said there was a rush to judgment against becky and as a result the state just didn't have the proof to back up the charge. >> i do believe that law enforcement agencies in this day and age have the ability to do a lot of things that were not done in this case. i don't believe they ever looked for anyone, which was a huge part of our defense. >> he's in a little itty bitty pickup, okay? he's going down my street. >> you know becky probably better than anybody else. when you listen to that 911 call, you truly believe becky is being truthful? >> yeah, i really do. and it's because she was a very detailed person. she's not being panicky. she's trying to describe. she's trying to think through
the process. she's very analytical. >> in early may 2013, 19 long months after that awful night, becky's trial began. if half the town had rushed to pray for keith when he was shot, just as many flocked to court. >> it's been a tough year and a half. very tough. >> no cameras were allowed inside the courtroom. as the prosecution came armed with a simple, powerful narrative. becky bryan wanted out of her marriage. so she shot her husband and invented the tale of an intruder. >> he shot my husband in the head. >> the case against becky began with a slew of secrets from her personal life. they called to court two men who received explicit texts and pictures from becky days before the shooting. and this man, a former client of becky's, came to the stand and testified they'd had sex the day of the crime.
pam woodard said becky told her about it the day of the shooting. >> she openly told me, i had sex with a 29-year-old client this morning, and i have a picture of his private area on my phone. that's not the word she used. and she said, "and i feel kind of bad because when i got home, keith had made me a tea." and -- >> did you have alarm bells going off? >> it was the oddest conversation. >> but pam and some of becky's other girlfriends weren't brought to court just to talk about that dalliance. >> what was the purpose of you taking the stand, and what was that experience like? >> i did not want to take the stand. i was made to take the stand. i was subpoenaed by the prosecution. >> the prosecution wanted pam to testify about becky's obsession with her ex-lover, mark holbrook, aka becky's prodigy.
becky had confided her feelings for him months earlier, when becky and keith appeared to be happier than ever. >> i said, "becky, you and keith seem to be really committed to making this work." and she said to me, "oh, i'm a great faker. once i've made my mind up about something, i'm a great faker." and my heart just kind of sank. >> the prosecution argued this was becky's motive for murder. she was fixated on her ex-lover and elaborately scheming to get him back. >> she proceeded to tell me that she was going to tell the ex-lover she was pregnant. >> so she's saying she's pregnant with his baby. >> yes. i said, "becky, you're 50-plus years old." and she said, "50-year-old people get pregnant all the time." and i said, "who? where? how does this happen? i've never heard of that." her reasoning had just kind of gone out the window at that point. >> how far had she gone with the baby story? >> she wanted somebody that could provide her with positive pregnancy tests.
she wanted to have a birth announcement printed up. >> birth announcement? >> a birth announcement. >> did she have a name picked out? >> she had a name picked out. >> mark, that object of becky's obsession, also testified, adding this potentially incriminating detail. he said that on the day keith was shot, becky left him a voice maehl, saying she planned to buy a house near him because she was about to inherit some money. to many in court, the implication was that becky had been expecting a life insurance payout. becky and keith's grown sons kept their feelings about their mother's guilt or innocence to themselves, but both testified briefly for the prosecution, as did a parade of investigators and forensics experts who laid out the physical evidence. there were two microscopic components of gunshot residue detected on becky's hand. and in that dryer with the gun
that belonged to becky, a blanket with holes in it, a shell casing, and a glove. a forensic biologist testified that the glove had becky's dna on it. >> i tried to be as open-minded as i could and wait and hear all the evidence, but as it went on, i was convinced that she was guilty. >> the state argued it was premeditated murder by a woman who had been living a double life. but becky's brother and chief supporter wasn't buying it. >> did you feel like the evidence was overwhelming against becky? >> if you wanted to convict her of being a slut, a greedy slut, yeah. not a murderer. coming up -- questions about the evidence. >> they didn't fingerprint the dryer. they didn't fingerprint the gun. i mean, how do you not fingerprint a gun? >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues wor. teamwork...
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the becky bryan who sat accused of murder no longer resembled the woman she once was, the popular and perfectly groomed wife of a community leader. but if her looks had changed, her story had not. she was innocent. >> keith and becky had grown apart over time. can you condone affairs? no. but it happens. that does not make one a killer. >> are you disappointed in your sister? >> lord, no.
i mean, i don't like some of the things that i heard, but she's my sister. i love her. >> becky's attorney didn't try to rehabilitate her reputation in court. the evidence of her affairs was overwhelming. but when it came to the crime, the defense told the jury the proof was lacking. >> can you break down for us the biggest errors you feel law enforcement made in this case? >> i think tunnel vision. i think that dictated this case from the night it happened. they did no other fingerprinting on any other door. they didn't fingerprint the dryer. they didn't fingerprint the gun. how do you not fingerprint a gun? >> the defense had an explanation for how an intruder could have easily used becky's gun to commit the crime. becky usually left it in her purse, which investigators found in her car in the garage. >> do you believe that the perpetrator she spoke of came through the garage, found her gun in the car, and then went in
and shot keith? >> well, that's really what i thought happened. perpetrator came in, got the gun out of the vehicle. >> what's more, that glove with becky's dna on it also had someone else's dna, but the csis couldn't narrow it down, not to keith or anyone else. >> it was actually a very large man's work glove. >> was there gunshot residue on the glove? >> yes. there was gunshot residue on the glove. defense's case. >> it was the theme of the defense's case. csi investigators from the state had been so quick to zero in on becky as the suspect, they committed crime scene malpractice. >> they didn't do any contact dna on the gun, and that's a very simple process. they didn't do any gunshot residue testing on her clothes. they didn't do a gunshot residue test on her face.
which would have been very, very telling. i mean, there are just things that would have given us reasonable doubt. >> the defense told the jury investigators all but ignored any evidence that pointed to an intruder. becky's neighbor came to court with that story about the suspicious handyman he had seen in the neighborhood and the truck spotted speeding around the night keith was shot. >> it was something that we felt maybe the perpetrator had been canvassing the area or maybe spying on what was going on in the neighborhood. >> and another witness testified he told police at the time he saw a truck matching the one becky described driving aggressively near the bryans the night of the shooting. >> that was the key to the case. he had a person in a matching truck speeding, driving erratically, that had come up on him and almost hit a vehicle all within blocks. >> but the statement that witness gave investigators only surfaced a few weeks before trial. >> they didn't follow up on it. there were cameras at two
different businesses right there at that intersection. >> and one additional detail to contradict the prosecution's case, becky's brother david testified that there was an innocent explanation for that inheritance she mentioned to her ex-lover. she wasn't talking about life insurance. becky was about to inherit a diamond ring. >> it was my aunt's ring. >> was it an expensive ring? >> very expensive. two full carats of diamond. the appraisal on it was at one time $19,000, and that was some years earlier. so obviously it had a little more value. >> more than enough reasonable doubt said the defense. but would a jury agree? the wait for a verdict began. >> i was so nervous waiting for it, my hands were shaking. >> i was holding out hope that the jury would recognize the mistakes that were made and
understand that because of those mistakes we may never know who really did it. >> afternoon turned to evening and then the news. the jury was back. >> very nervous, very anxious. my thoughts were with keith's family. >> the verdict, guilty of first-degree murder. >> and then when he read guilty, i really didn't feel a whole lot. i didn't feel happy. >> how was your first meeting with becky after her conviction? >> she cried, said she couldn't believe it. >> what has becky told you? >> that she didn't do it. but i still don't know the truth. there are either one or two people on the face of this earth that knows the truth. if becky did it, she's the only one that knows. if somebody else did it, she knows it and that person knows it. if one of those two people come forward and say i did it, then
we'll know the truth. other than that -- >> on july 9th, 2009, becky was sentenced at the jury had recommended, to life in prison without parole. for keith's friends, the trial and its conclusion were only one sort of an ending, tangible reminders of their friend and hero live on, especially in the fire department keith led for so many years. >> what is life like now without your friend, without your chief, without keith? >> we still talk about him, some of the funny things he did. he's a part of our history here now and always will be and we miss him. >> if keith was listening, what would you say to keith? >> that i know he's in a great place. and keith would tell us to forgive becky, not to say that she doesn't have to be held accountable and that she doesn't have to suffer consequences because that's a given and that's the right thing, but keith would actually want us to forgive becky.
and i know that. and i would just tell keith well done. your time on earth here was well done. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. first up on msnbc, new outrage overnight across the country. the verdict that rocked the nation, and what does it say when a white teenager can cross state lines with a long gun, kill two people at a racial justice protest, and gets to walk away a free man? >> they have said now that vigilantes can go to protests and kill people and say that they were defending themselves, which puts all americans, particularly those t