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Jurors convict doctor of manslaughter in motorcyclist's death on highway

Edmond cardiologist Dr. Bryan Frank Perry sits in the courtroom during jury selection at the Oklahoma County courthouse on Monday. Perry is an accused of striking and killing a motorcyclist with his car, then leaving the scene. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
Edmond cardiologist Dr. Bryan Frank Perry sits in the courtroom during jury selection at the Oklahoma County courthouse on Monday. Perry is an accused of striking and killing a motorcyclist with his car, then leaving the scene. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

An Oklahoma County jury Monday convicted a cardiologist of first-degree manslaughter in the 2018 traffic death of a motorcyclist on Interstate 35 in Edmond.

Jurors recommended a 15-year sentence for Dr. Bryan Frank Perry of Edmond in the death of Nicholas Rappa, 31, of Guthrie.

"I miss my son greatly," Rappa's father, Joseph, said following the verdict. "He'll be in jail for a long time for his crime."

Jurors deliberated for about 2 1/2hours. They also found Perry guilty on three other counts, including aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a fatality accident and recommended he serve one year for each. He remained silent as deputies led him away in handcuffs.

Formal sentencing is April 14 in District Judge Timothy R. Henderson's courtroom.

Prosecutors alleged Perry, 49, consumed 13 drinks over a five-hour period, drove his Mercedes Benz coupe in excess of 100 mph before the crash and then kept driving after he rear-ended the victim's 1984 Harley Davidson. The level of alcohol in the defendant's blood was 0.233, or nearly three times the legal limit of .08.

"I'm so glad that the jury saw through all of the crap and realized that he was very guilty of every single charge, because he was," Assistant District Attorney Catt Burton said. "Obviously we asked for more and we thought he deserved more. I think they worked really hard to come to a just verdict and I'm not going to complain about that."

Perry was charged with second-degree murder, but jurors were asked to consider a lesser-included charge of first-degree manslaughter, as well. Prosecutors sought a minimum sentence of 25 years. Both convictions carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Defense attorney Scott Adams argued that Rappa didn't have the proper lights or reflectors on his motorcycle, which made it difficult if not impossible to see him. Adams previously told jurors the victim was impaired — his blood alcohol level was .05 — and had slowed to 10 mph or "even stopped" when Perry crested a hill and struck him.

The defense attorney accused prosecutors of withholding evidence — filament contained in the taillight — that would have exonerated his client. Adams also accused the prosecution's case agent — an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper — of lying.

Tim Willert

Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers K-12 education, including Oklahoma City Public Schools and the state Education Department. Before that he covered district, federal and appellate courts in Oklahoma County. Prior... Read more ›

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