Okla. Co. Jury Returns Guilty Verdict Against Local Doctor Accused Of Killing Motorcyclist In Crash
A metro heart doctor accused of killing a motorcyclist has been found guilty of multiple counts including manslaughter.
Doctor Bryan Perry, 49, is accused of driving drunk and killing motorcyclist Nicholas Rappa, 31, on Interstate 35 and then leaving the scene.
The jury convicted Perry of four counts including manslaughter and aggravated DUI. The jury recommended at least 16 years for the counts.
Before the case went to the jury to decide Perry’s future, prosecutors reminded them of the past during closing arguments.
The jury was given video evidence of when Perry left work at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital on October 11, 2018 and had 13 cocktails before he got behind the wheel of his Mercedes to drive home the following morning.
Witnesses estimated Perry was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour on the Kilpatrick Turnpike before exiting onto I-35.
A trucker driving on the interstate testified seeing Rappa’s motorcycle and could see its taillight. He also recalled seeing Perry pass his big rig. Moments later the trucker drove through the crash debris field, swerved to miss Rappa’s body and called 911.
Prosecutors told the jury that Perry, being a doctor could have stopped but instead drove on. Perry hit a light pole but did not stop until his car ran out of fluids and he ran from the scene.
The prosecutor said in closing arguments that Perry was “playing Russian roulette with anyone on the road that night.”
Perry’s attorney did not deny the heart doctor was driving under the influence but said there was nothing anyone could have done to avoid the fatal crash, calling it a “perfect storm.”
They pointed to Rappa’s blacked out motorcycle, claiming it had a defective taillight and the victim was wearing dark clothes.
Perry described driving in “white out conditions” before the crash and he did not see the motorcycle due to rain. The defense also believed Rappa was either stopped on the interstate or driving slowly.
The jury also has to consider if Perry is guilty of DUI, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and obstructing an officer.
Before closing arguments, the judge instructed the jury that one of the prosecution’s key witnesses impeached himself by giving false testimony during the trial.
Sentencing for Perry has been scheduled for April 14.