Jury selection underway in second-degree murder trial against Oklahoma doctor

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s been more than a year since an Oklahoma cardiologist was arrested and charged with second-degree murder following a deadly crash.

Now, the case against him is heading to an Oklahoma County courtroom.

Just before 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2018, emergency crews were called to a deadly crash along I-35, between 15th and 33rd.

Authorities say Bryan Frank Perry was driving a 2013 Mercedes northbound when he hit a motorcycle, killing 31-year-old Nicholas Rappa.  The State says Perry had as many as 13 drinks before getting behind the wheel of his car, but the defense says Rappa was also drinking that night.

Before jury selection began, the state filed a motion to have Rappa's toxicology report excluded from evidence.  Court records show Rappa's blood alcohol content on the night of the wreck was 0.06, just below the legal limit of 0.08.  The judge told the defense the could say that Rappa was impaired the night of the crash, but they can not use the word intoxicated.

At the time of his death, Rappa worked at OU Children’s Hospital and left behind a young daughter.

According to court documents, Perry told investigators that “he knew he hit something” but continued driving anyway.

“The driver of the Mercedes continued on northbound, ran off the road on the east side of the interstate where he struck a light pole, which caused the vehicle to become disabled,” said Capt. Paul Timmons, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Another point of contention before jury selection began was Perry's speed prior to the accident. 

The defense argued that how fast Perry was driving on the Kilpatrick Turnpike prior to exiting on to I-35 has nothing to do with the case.  Using turnpike gates, investigators estimate Perry was traveling 106mph while on the turnpike. The judge disagreed with the defense, saying it speaks to Perry's alleged dangerous conduct that night. 

Court documents state that Perry, a cardiologist, did not call for help or render aid to Rappa following the crash.

The judge also ruled the state could use Perry's criminal history in this case.  That includes previous speeding tickets and DUI and public intoxication arrests.

Perry was ultimately charged with second-degree murder in the case.

Months after being charged, court documents show that Perry failed a breathalyzer test, which was a violation of his bond. Although prosecutors wanted him to be sent to jail, a judge allowed Perry to go to an out-of-state rehab facility.

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