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Former Minister Fatally Stabbed in Prison Cell
Barbara Hoberock
TULSA WORLD (FINAL HOME EDITION Edition), Page N9 of City State, News

OKLAHOMA CITY - Less than a month after being removed
from protective custody, a former Presbyterian minister
serving a 40-year prison sentence for lewd molestation and
rape was stabbed to death in his cell.
At least two inmates have been implicated in the stabbing
death of Robert Bruce Bridgen, 60, who was found at 7 p.m.
Sunday in his cell at Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at Elkview General Hospital
in Hobart.
The two prisoners, who were not identified, and several
other inmates also tied to the stabbing, were separated
from the prison's general population shortly after the attack,
prison spokesman Josh McCurdy said.
Bridgen originally was charged with 20 counts of lewd molestation
and one count of rape by instrumentation stemming from acts
involving girls age 4 to 14 who attended his Alva church.
He was convicted in June 1992 of eight counts of lewd molestation
and one count of rape by instrumentation.
Trish States of Alva, whose daughter testified against Bridgen,
said she was relieved at the news of the former minister's death.
"I feel sorry for the family, don't get me wrong, but I'm
glad Mr. Bridgen is gone because he can no longer do harm
to any more children or any other innocent families," she
said. "Right now I feel like whoever did this, I thank
them for it because justice has been done."
Bridgen, who maintained his innocence, was appealing his
conviction to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, said
Ron W. Bittle, Bridgen's trial lawyer, of Alva.
"The sad thing about this is I believe he had an excellent
chance of getting a new trial," Bittle said.
McCurdy said at least two inmates entered Brigden's cell
about 7 p.m. Sunday and stabbed him numerous times in the
chest and legs.

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