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Edmond teenager accused of murdering stepmother pleads not guilty

OKLAHOMA CITY - A teenager accused of murdering his stepmother has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Joshua Bryant, 18, was arrested in April after his stepmother, 54-year-old Katherine Bryant, was found dead inside a garage in Edmond. Joshua had told investigators he hit his stepmother in the head with a baseball bat and knocked her unconscious before dragging her to the garage and shooting her in the head with a rifle.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, the state called a detective with the Edmond Police Department to the stand. He said Joshua had skipped school that April day and smoked marijuana. When questioned by the state, he said Joshua had a "good relationship" with his stepmother.

During cross examination, defense attorney Scott Adams noted Joshua has no criminal history but does suffer from depression and is prescribed medications for ADHD. According to Adams, this affected his client's judgment.

"It's just a sad case. We're trying to help him get through it, the family get through it and obviously Katherine's family," Adams said. "It's just a tragic situation we're trying to get everyone through."

He said, above all, Joshua needs help.

"Unfortunately, there's not a lot of help within the Department of Corrections or within our society, and that's what we're trying to advocate for is to get better mental health issues dealt with here in Oklahoma," he said.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for December.