The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 1, 2013

Bruce sentenced to 177 years after pleading guilty to multiple charges

NORMAN — A Colorado man was sentenced to 177 years in prison Tuesday in Cleveland County District Court after pleading guilty to nearly 20 charges, including first-degree rape and several sexual assaults on Norman college students over a 15-year span.

Robert Howard Bruce, 51, pleaded guilty to 18 of 19 charges and no contest to a sexual battery charge. The charges he pleaded guilty to included five counts of first-degree rape, 10 counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of sexual battery and one count of forcible sodomy.

“This is a very important day for all of the victims of this fellow,” Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said. “I hope this will help them go on with their lives.”

Bruce was familiar with the Norman area after attending the University of Oklahoma in fall 1982, spring 1983, summer 1983, fall 1983 and spring 1986.

Last year, a Norman police detective who worked the cases for nearly a decade, said Bruce confessed to 14 incidents and was able to pinpoint the location of the attacks using a laptop computer and Google Earth. Police matched 11 of the incidents with old reports.

Most of the incidents occurred in southeast Norman, where Bruce lived while he attended OU.

When Bruce left Norman for work, he would return to Dallas on business trips, rent a car and come to Norman where he knew the area, police said.

In some incidents the victims were knocked out with chloroform. In others, he used tape or cords to bind them. A stun gun was used in one occasion, and it didn’t matter if others were in the home, police said.

Victims who attended Bruce’s sentencing in Cleveland County today were given the chance to make a statement in court but declined.

Norman police pinpointed Bruce as a suspect in the cases after Bruce’s DNA was entered into a national database and with the help of Texas, Colorado and New Mexico detectives. His DNA was entered into the database after being convicted of window peeping in Colorado.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Man charged with rape A Norman man was charged with second-degree rape Thursday after a teen reported that she had been engaging in sexual activity with him. Stacy Lynn Thomas, 36, had numerous sexual encounters with the 15-year-old girl ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 1:36 a.m. burglary in progress, 3700 block of Barwick Drive · 9:54 a.m. larceny report, 500 block of South University Boulevard · 10:42 a.m. larceny report, 1400 ...

    August 1, 2014