Friday, March 13, 2015

TOP STORY >> Guilty plea made in wife’s murder

Leader staff writer

Former Lonoke County auxiliary sheriff’s deputy Charles Bryant was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a minor on Friday at Lonoke County Circuit Court for the December 2013 shooting of his wife, Sharae.

Bryant, who is not eligible for parole, appeared before First Division Circuit Judge Barbara Elmore.

The murder took place at the Bryants’ home, 31 Watercrest Lane in the Cedar Lakes Estates off Dogwood Lane east of Cabot. The incident was recorded on home security surveillance tape.

Charles Bryant told State Police investigators that he shot and killed his wife after she shot him.

But, according to the arrest affidavit, the surveillance tape showed a different scene.

Sharae Bryant put their infant daughter in the car seat of a white Ford Expedition before going back inside the house, it states. About the same time, the tape recorded Charles Bryant getting something from his red Dodge truck and going inside the home.

The tape then showed Sharae running outside, followed by Charles, who chased her around her vehicle. She reached for the driver’s door. Charles Bryant approached, stood over her and shot her in the head.

Charles Bryant then walked approximately 10 feet away.

The tape shows that he shot himself in the midsection of his body. He fell to the ground, crawled back to Sharae’s body and placed something by her body. Charles Bryant crawled back to where he shot himself and laid down.

Emergency personnel pronounced Sharae dead at the scene. Charles Bryant was taken to Springhill Baptist Medical Center in North Little Rock, where he was treated and released for the gunshot wound.

Charles told investigators that he and Sharae argued before he took his two sons to school. Their oldest son and baby daughter were at the home with her.

When Charles Bryant returned, he said Sharae put the baby in their SUV and, at some point, went into the house. Charles Bryant said his wife took a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, with its holster, from a nightstand drawer and went outside. He said he followed with a .380 semi-automatic pistol. Once outside, Charles Bryant said Sharae shot him once and he returned fire, shooting her one time in the head.

According to Sheriff John Staley, Bryant had been a reserve deputy until about a week before the shooting, when he resigned. He did not have a violent criminal history.