Trial of Nancy Crampton Brophy, Who Wrote an Essay Entitled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ to Start In Oregon

Daniel Brophy’s members of the family have awaited justice for greater than three years since he was gunned down whereas filling water and ice buckets within the kitchen of the now-defunct Oregon Culinary Institute in June 2018. Brophy’s spouse, 71, a romance novelist who wrote an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband” in 2011, has waited in jail.

The COVID-19 pandemic is basically guilty for the hole between Nancy Crampton-Brophy’s 2018 arrest on suspicion of murdering her husband of 27 years and her homicide trial, which is scheduled to start Monday. Prosecutors say Crampton-Brophy’s legal professionals have used the pandemic in plenty of makes an attempt to wriggle out of the implications of her alleged crime, from a movement to let her await trial in a visitor home so she wouldn’t catch COVID-19 in jail to one other asking a decide to delay the trial on the grounds that older jurors extra more likely to view the defendant in a good mild would possible skip jury responsibility for fears of catching the illness.

Now, Crampton-Brophy will lastly be compelled to reply the cost that she killed her husband in pursuit of greater than $1 million in life insurance coverage. And Daniel Brophy’s household will lastly get some decision to their father’s homicide.

“It’s been horrible. Every time they get ready to go it’s a delay, whether it’s COVID, defense motions—there’ve been two defense set-overs—they get themselves all geared up and into that mind frame and then it’s all for naught again,” legal professional Christine Mascal informed The Daily Beast on Wednesday. Mascal represents Daniel Brophy’s son, Nathaniel Stillwater, who has filed a wrongful loss of life lawsuit in opposition to Crampton-Brophy, looking for $1.7 million in damages. “With all these delays, the family has had to put it out of their minds. They’re very anxious and excited to get this thing going.”

Daniel Brophy and his son Nathaniel Stillwater.


Brophy’s 2018 homicide “was a shock” to Stillwater and his relations, Mascal mentioned. Brophy had simply arrived at work that June 2 morning on the Institute, the place his college students and fellow lecturers alike all admired him. Someone shot him within the again after which within the chest, piercing his coronary heart and killing him. For a number of months, the homicide was a thriller, with no indicators of a battle or a theft, and no recognized enemies of Brophy—till investigators started digging into Brophy’s spouse’s exercise on-line.

The proof detectives unearthed was circumstantial, however juicy. For motive, there have been the half-dozen life insurance coverage insurance policies Crampton-Brophy stood to gather upon her husband’s premature loss of life, a determine boosted by a number of hundred thousand {dollars} if he died on the job. For a homicide weapon, there was the slide and barrel pistol Crampton-Brophy allegedly bought on eBay after visiting the web site, that might match the 9mm handgun she informed police she and her husband collectively purchased at a Portland gun present however by no means used. “Detectives then suspected that Nancy Brophy removed the original slide and barrel from the gun show gun that she relinquished to the police, replaced it with the eBay- purchased slide and barrel shot her husband, and then replaced the eBay slide and barrel with the original, thus being able to present a new, fully- intact firearm to police that would not be a match to the shell casings that she left at the crime scene,” prosecutors wrote in an April 2020 memorandum. “Detectives have never recovered the slide and barrel purchased on eBay. Nancy Brophy deleted her eBay account just days after the murder.”

There was additionally surveillance footage contradicting Crampton-Brophy’s claims to police that she stayed house after her husband of 27 years left for work that morning, footage close to the crime scene that confirmed her driving her Toyota minivan in two instructions: one at 6:39 a.m., towards the capturing, one other away from it at 7:28 a.m., based on courtroom filings.

Dan Brophy was killed in that window.

“Although that first shot likely paralyzed Dan Brophy and rendered him immobile, lying on his back, Nancy Brophy then walked over to the helpless victim and shot him again at close range, also piercing the heart and ensuring that Daniel Brophy would die,” prosecutors wrote in a 2020 courtroom submitting.

And probably the most salacious, albeit circumstantial particulars: Crampton-Brophy’s personal writing, which for true crime buffs couldn’t presumably be extra titillating.

“Writers are liars,” she wrote in a submit on her web site. “I don’t remember who said that but it’s not true. In writing fiction, you dig deep and unearth portions of your own life that you’ve long forgotten or had purposely buried deep.”

Crampton-Brophy described a largely idyllic life and marriage, “in the beautiful, green and very wet, Northwest (sic), married to a Chef whose mantra is: life is a science project. As a result there are chickens and turkeys in my backyard, a fabulous vegetable garden which also grows tobacco for an insecticide and a hot meal on the table every night.”

She knew Daniel Brophy was Mr. Right when he responded to an invite to a shower with “Yes, but I’m making hors d’oeuvres,” she wrote. “Can you imagine spending the rest of your life without a man like that?”

The couple spent the remainder of his life collectively, however not hers. In the identical submit, Crampton-Brophy hinted that maybe the wedding wasn’t as joyful because it appeared, with “ups and downs, more good times than bad,” she wrote. “For those of you who have longed for this, let me caution you. The old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for, when the gods are truly angry, they grant us their wishes.”

The author’s case made nationwide headlines after The Oregonian unearthed an explosive piece of Crampton-Brophy’s work, again in 2011, titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” The work was supposedly tongue-in-cheek, however the writer’s recommendation bore eerie similarities to her husband’s final killing. “As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure. After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail. And let me say clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange isn’t my color.”

In the subsequent part, “Motives,” Crampton-Brophy begins with the monetary points. “This is big. Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions? Or if you married for money, aren’t you entitled to all of it? The draw back (sic) is the police aren’t stupid. They are looking at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very clever. Husbands have disappeared from cruise ships before. Why not yours?”

Crampton-Brophy advises in opposition to crimes of ardour, as a result of there’s “a trail that leads directly to you,” and “does not look like a stranger was involved. And who is left to clean the blood from your carpeting?” If the church frowns on divorce, “it helps to be a widow,” she advises, including “it helps if you aren’t too burdened by the 10 commandments.”

As to how you can get the job accomplished, she begins with weapons. “Loud, messy, require some skill. If it takes 10 shots for the sucker to die, either you have terrible aim or he’s on drugs.” Knives are out, as a result of “blood everywhere. Eww.” A garrote is a no-go, she wrote, as a result of “how much upper body strength does it require to strangle a person?” Poison, “a woman’s weapon,” takes too lengthy. “Plus, they are sick the entire time. Who wants to hang out with a sick husband?” And a employed gun? “Do you know a hit man? Neither do I. And an amazing number of hit men rat you out to the police. Or blackmail you later.”

Nancy Crampton-Brophy seems in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Oregon in 2018.

Multnomah County Circuit Court/Courtesy of The Oregonian/AP

Crampton-Brophy additionally considers homicide by “heavy piece of equipment” and “hiring a lover,” each problematic for various causes. But in the long run, she writes, “I find it easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them… but the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”

Seven years later, Crampton-Brophy’s husband was gone.

On Facebook, Crampton-Brophy shared “sad news” the day after the homicide. “My husband and best friend, Chef Dan Brophy was killed yesterday morning… while I appreciate all your loving responses, I am overwhelmed.”

Detectives quickly discovered the ghost gun buy, and that Crampton-Brophy bookmarked a submit entitled “10 Ways to Cover Up a Murder” in an iTunes account she shared together with her husband. When arrested in September 2018, she requested police “You’re arresting me? You must think I murdered my husband.”

Next got here a Multnomah County grand jury indictment, for one depend of homicide.

For Daniel Brophy’s members of the family, “there’s no question in their minds who caused his death,” Mascal informed The Daily Beast. Yet whereas the proof in opposition to Crampton-Brophy could also be salacious, it’s additionally extremely circumstantial, Mascal mentioned. “That’s the challenge,” she mentioned. “But I think there’s pretty compelling evidence to be presented by the state. It will establish that she’s responsible for the murder.”

Neither Crampton-Brophy’s attorneys nor prosecutors agreed to be interviewed for this story.

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