Edmond man, 18, ordered to trial in fatal shooting of stepmother — (The Oklahoman)

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The Oklahoman

by Kyle Schwab

An 18-year-old Edmond man charged in the fatal shooting of his stepmother was ordered Wednesday to trial.

Joshua Thomas Bryant is charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing Katherine Deena Bryant, 54, inside the family home during the evening of April 4.

Joshua Bryant has admitted to striking his stepmother in the head with an aluminum baseball bat, dragging her unconscious body to the garage and then shooting her in the back of the head with a rifle, according to police.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Oklahoma County Special Judge Kevin McCray found enough evidence to send the case to trial.

What triggered the killing isn’t known, Edmond police detective Jason Stearns testified Wednesday. Joshua Bryant told police he had a good relationship with his stepmother, and he didn’t argue with her before the killing, the detective testified.

Defense attorney Scott Adams contends Joshua Bryant has “some severe emotional problems.”

“It’s just a case about mental illness and drug abuse,” Adams told news reporters after the hearing. “I think at the end of the day, everyone will see that Josh didn’t intentionally do this on his own. There were some intervening factors with drugs and mental health issues that we’re dealing with right now.”

The police detective testified that Joshua Bryant had smoked marijuana while skipping school the day of the shooting. Bryant also suffered from depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and had been taking prescription medications, according to testimony.

Adams contends the medications “clearly affected his judgment.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, Bryant sat with his head down, his fingers covering his eyes. He wore an orange jail uniform and sported a buzz cut and goatee. When arrested at 17, Bryant had long brown hair and was clean shaven.

Bryant is charged as an adult. The victim had been his stepmother since May 2016.

After the shooting, Bryant left the home in his stepmother’s car. He was arrested later that night in Blackwell and taken to the Edmond Police Department, the detective testified.

“He said he wasn’t running but wanted to get out … and clear his head,” the detective told the judge.

After hitting the victim with a baseball bat in the front dining room, Bryant said he sat on the kitchen floor for five minutes “contemplating his next actions,” the detective wrote in a court affidavit.

Bryant then dragged his stepmother to the garage and spent another five minutes trying to decide what to do next, the detective wrote. He then got an AR-15 rifle, loaded it and shot the victim in the garage, the detective told the judge.

When asked why he decided to shoot his stepmother, Bryant told police she was suffering and “he didn’t want to see her in pain,” the detective testified.