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Criminologist Discusses Possibility Of Becky Bryan's Murder Acquittal

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Dr. Kurtz says the defense could use that argument to create reasonable doubt the wife did not murder Keith Bryan. But he says the state likely has more evidence to support its case. Dr. Kurtz says the defense could use that argument to create reasonable doubt the wife did not murder Keith Bryan. But he says the state likely has more evidence to support its case.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The high profile murder case against Becky Bryan is drawing a lot of debate. The wife is accused of killing her husband, late Nichols Hills fire chief Keith Bryan.

But in court, investigators recently admitted a mistake may have been made, collecting evidence.

Some fingerprints and photographs of evidence found at the murder scene were never collected. An investigator's testimony revealed the oversight.

Now, some are wondering if possible mishandling of the case could lead to an acquittal.

Becky Bryan's attorney is challenging how investigators handled the collection of evidence at the Bryan home.

"I think when they approached this case in the beginning, they didn't expect the wife to be the suspect," said Howard Kurtz, Criminologist at Oklahoma City University.

9/30/2011 Related Story: Nichols Hills Fire Chief's Wife Charged With Murder

The defense disagrees, saying investigators failed to collect fingerprints from the gun, as well as the dryer in home where the OSBI says it recovered the murder weapon.

Criminologist Dr. Howard Kurtz says evidence like fingerprints or DNA are primarily used to place someone at the scene of the crime, and investigators already determined Becky Bryan was home at the time of the murder.

10/18/2011 Related Story: Court Papers Show Fire Chief's Wife Called Ex-Lover Hours Before Husband Killed

"If you live in a home, your DNA and your fingerprints are going to be a lot of places, so that could help, it could hurt, but I don't think this case is going to hinge on that," Kurtz said.

The defense says investigators rushed to judgment by not ruling out if other fingerprints were at the crime scene.

Dr. Kurtz says the defense could use that argument to create reasonable doubt the wife did not murder Keith Bryan. But he says the state likely has more evidence to support its case.

"They can tell what angle the bullet came from. They can tell you the height of the person that shot the gun. So I think there are a lot of other elements that can come in to this case before it is all said and done," Kurtz said.

Dr. Kurtz also weighed in on another looming question, saying he does believe, despite the high publicity of the case, the court will still be able to find 12 impartial jurors.

Bryan will not be back in court until May 22 for arraignment.

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