(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Cushing man who remains jailed without bail on a first-degree murder charge claims he fatally stabbed his girlfriend’s uncle in self-defense on Oct. 3, according to an investigator’s affidavit filed in court records Friday.
Noel Lee Bryan, 21, said he was sitting on his girlfriend’s bed when her uncle, Nathaniel Ray Becenti, 37 — with whom he had been drinking — began shaking him by the shoulders and punched him in the face, the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said he instinctively grabbed the knife from under the pillow and stabbed Bicenti three or four times in the chest area. Bryan said Becenti fell to the ground.
“Bryan described the knife as a large fixed-blade knife with a white handle, but couldn’t recall what he did with the knife after the stabbing.
“Bryan said after he stabbed Becenti, he walked home and went to bed,” Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Derek White alleged in an affidavit filed in court records three weeks after the slaying.
Bryan was arrested about 5:07 a.m. on Oct. 4 at the Cushing Police Department where he was interviewed twice by the OSBI agent, according to the affidavit.
Cushing police had been called at 8:06 p.m. on Oct. 3 about an unattended death in the 1200 block of E. Pecan Street, where Becenti, Becenti’s niece — who was Bryan’s girlfriend — and Becenti’s aunt lived, the affidavit said.
Emergency medical staff “cut the shirt off Becenti and discovered what appeared to be stab wounds to the chest and neck area,” the affidavit said. Becenti died at the scene, District Attorney Tom Lee said.
Cushing police interviewed Becenti’s aunt, who said she came home about 6:30 p.m., found Becenti deceased in his bedroom, and immediately called 911, the affidavit said.
The OSBI was asked by the Cushing Police Department to assist in the investigation, the affidavit said.
OSBI Agent Michael Dean interviewed Becenti’s aunt, who said that Bryan had stayed the previous night at the residence where Becenti was found dead, the affidavit said.
OSBI Agent White located Bryan at his residence in the 1500 block of E. Moses Street, where the homeowner led officers to a bedroom, the affidavit said.
“Agent White saw fresh wounds on the face of Noel Bryan that were consistent with being in an altercation,” the affidavit said.
“Bryan smelled of alcohol but appeared coherent. Bryan agreed to accompany Agent White to the Cushing Police Department,” the affidavit alleged.
During an interview that began about 3:20 a.m. on Oct. 4, “Bryan said he was not intoxicated or high on any substances,” the affidavit alleged.
Bryan said he had been dating Becenti’s niece, who also resides at the house in the 1200 block of E. Pecan Street, the affidavit said.
“Bryan said he and Becenti were at Becenti’s residence drinking. Bryan denied having any altercation with Nathaniel Becenti, but later recanted his statements, and admitted to stabbing Becenti in self-defense,” the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said he worried about Becenti becoming violent, so approximately two hours before the altercation, he retrieved a knife from the kitchen and hid it under a pillow,” in his girlfriend’s bedroom, the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said he and Becenti became engaged in an argument about (Bryan’s girlfriend) wanting Becenti (her uncle) evicted from the residence,” the affidavit alleged.
In a second interview with the OSBI agent at about 11:19 a.m. on Oct. 4, Bryan said he had spoken to his girlfriend on the phone prior to the altercation with Becenti, the affidavit alleged.
Bryan said his girlfriend “warned Bryan not to get into an argument with Becenti because Becenti becomes violent while intoxicated,” the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said that’s when he retrieved the knife from the kitchen. Bryan admitted he should have left the residence to avoid an altercation between him and Becenti but didn’t want to because he felt more comfortable there,” the affidavit alleged.
Bryan said that’s when he told Becenti that Becenti’s niece and Becenti’s aunt wanted him evicted from the residence, the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said Becenti became angry and started shaking Bryan by the shoulders and punched him in the face.
“Bryan said he instinctively grabbed the knife from under the pillow and stabbed Becenti three or four times in the chest,” the affidavit alleged.
“Bryan said after he stabbed Becenti, he washed his hands in the bathroom and walked home. Bryan said he couldn’t recall what he did with the knife after the stabbing,” the affidavit alleged.
Bryan has been given a court-appointed attorney to represent him on the first-degree murder charge, on which he has been ordered to appear in court on Nov. 3 when he can seek a preliminary hearing.
First-degree murder carries a punishment of life in prison, life without parole, or death.