Oklahoma County prosecutors and defense attorneys rested their cases on Friday after a week of testimony. Jurors will soon decide the fate of Doctor Bryan Perry, 49, who is accused of driving drunk on Interstate 35 and hitting Nicholas Rappa, 31, on his motorcycle.
Perry is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a deadly accident and obstructing an officer.
Every day this week the victim’s father Joseph Rappa sat on the front row of the courtroom. Rappa was the last state witness to take the stand. He testified that just like the accused doctor, his son worked in the medical field and was a father.
Before Rappa took the stand, he listened to the state medical examiner explain the graphic details of his son’s death. The expert witness determined Rappa died from multiple blunt force injuries. For some, the images were too much.
“I left the courtroom for a bit,” said Sarah Bridwell, mother of victim’s child. “That’s not how I ever want to remember Nick.”
Prosecutors also relied on the expertise of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol major who gave detailed testimony about the fatal crash investigation. He determined Perry was driving about 100 miles per hour when he slammed into the back of Rappa’s motorcycle. The witness said the crime scene on the interstate stretched for more than a mile based on the debris field, where Rappa’s body landed and the ditch Perry ran to.
“All of the investigative pieces kind of came together in his testimony today,” said Bridwell.
After the state rested, Perry’s defense team called their one witness. The former law officer now private accident reconstruction expert testified that Perry was not speeding and most likely could not see Rappa’s dark motorcycle.
“It’s coming out through the testimony that there’s no reflective materials on the back of the motorcycle,” said Scott Adams, defense attorney. ‘’That the rain coming down, the dark conditions, everything that was going on -- I think it’s pretty evident that no one could have avoided this accident.”
The jury will reconvene on Monday to hear closing arguments and then get the case for a verdict.