Edmond Teen Charged with Stepmother's Murder

A 17-year-old Edmond boy was charged with first degree murder this week after his father discovered the body of the boy's mother in the family garage.

On April 4, Brad Bryant called 9-1-1 to report, "My son has killed my wife." Bryant told a dispatcher that his son, 17-year-old Joshua Thomas Bryant, had a "crazy story" to tell him before stealing the car and fleeing the house. He told the dispatcher that he had been picking up his daughter from a local gym and had only been gone about 30 minutes. When he returned, his son was acting suspiciously and making strange excuses for where his stepmother was. Then Joshua Bryant told his father he needed to start dinner, and Joshua left the house in his stepmother's car.

When Brad Bryant went into the garage, he told the dispatcher, he found his wife, Katherine Deena Bryant, 54, with a blanket covering her head, which was "smashed so bad."

The man told police he had no idea what sparked the violence between his son and his wife, saying that everything was fine when he left the house a half hour before.

Police later arrested Joshua Bryant along I-35 near Blackwell, where he was driving his stepmother's vehicle. 

Joshua Bryant reportedly admitted to hitting his stepmother in the head with a baseball bat, knocking her unconscious. He told police that after she fell to the ground, he sat for about 5 minutes trying to decide what to do. He then dragged her into the garage, where he shot her in the head with a .22 caliber rifle.

Police have not reported a motive for the killing. Joshua Bryant is charged as an adult with first degree murder. He is held without bail in the Oklahoma County Jail.

In Oklahoma, teens aged 15, 16, or 17 accused of first degree murder are automatically charged as adults. Teens aged 13 or 14 accused of first degree murder may be charged as adults or they may be certified as youthful offenders. 

Oklahoma's Youthful Offender Act allows teens charged with more serious crimes to be prosecuted as youthful offenders rather than juveniles or adults. This status provides harsher penalties for more egregious offenses, but recognizes that the chances for rehabilitation may be better for teens than adults and allows lighter penalties and more opportunities for treatment than adult offenders may receive.

The Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act is found in the Oklahoma statutes in 10A § 2-5-201 through § 2-5-301.
 

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