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A romance novelist who once penned a blog post entitled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ has been convicted of doing just that.
Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, was convicted on Wednesday of second-degree murder for shooting dead her chef husband Daniel Brophy, 63, while he was working at the Oregon Culinary Institute in June 2018.
Police said he was shot twice, and was found dead by his students.
Prosecutors have claimed Nancy killed her husband in a scheme to collect his $1.4 million life insurance policy.
They had rested much of their case on the fact that Crampton Brophy had acquired gun pieces in the months before her husband’s death – including a piece that could obscure what gun a bullet was fired from.
Lawyers for Crampton Brophy claimed the pieces were for a novel she was writing – about a woman who slowly acquired gun parts to complete a weapon and turn the tables on an abusive husband.
Instead, the defense argued, Crampton Brophy and her husband were in a loving relationship of more than 25 years.
Nancy Brophy, 71, was convicted on Wednesday of the murder of her husband
Prosecutors have claimed that she shot her husband, Daniel Brophy, right, dead in June 2018 to collect his $1.4 million life insurance policy
Brophy once penned an essay titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ in 2011 while applying to a writer’s group
Daniel Brophy was killed on June 2, 2018 in a teaching kitchen at the Oregon Culinary Institute in southwest Portland, where he had worked since 2006. His students arrived shortly afterwards, and discovered his body on the floor of a kitchen. Police said at the time he was shot twice.
Crampton Brophy was caught on camera half an hour before his death driving to the culinary institute.
Twenty minutes later, she drove away and went home to Beavertown.
Crampton Brophy testified in court that she did not remember making that trip, theorizing she may have been making a coffee run and taking notes for her new romance novel, according to the New York Times.
But prosecutors claim that Crampton Brophy was motivated by his $1.4 million life insurance policy, and played an audio recording to the court of her asking a detective four days later to write a letter specifically exonerating her in her husband’s death so she could collect the life insurance policy.
She claimed the policy was worth $40,000, but investigators said she tried to claim 10 different policies that totaled $1.4 million, as well as a worker’s compensation plan because he was killed on the job.
‘Nancy Brophy was maintaining all those life insurance policies while continuing down a path of financial ruin,’ said Overstreet.
‘Well over a thousand dollars a month was being paid into these policies at a time when they were struggling to pay their mortgage.’
He said that despite Crampton Brophy and Brophy celebrating a large wedding in 1997, they did not actually legally wed until shortly before he was murdered.
The kitchen showed no signs of a break-in, and Brophy’s wallet and phone were on him at the time of death.
No suspects were ever identified except for Crampton Brophy, who was arrested in September 2018 and pleaded not guilty to the crime.
Brophy was killed in a teaching kitchen at the Oregon Culinary Institute in southwest Portland, where he had worked since 2006
But the novelist, whose titles include The Wrong Husband and The Wrong Cop, previously spoke about her home life in writer forums, where she said their marriage, like any other, had its ‘ups and downs’.
The blog post, which she wrote on the site Seeing Jane in 2011, began: ‘As a suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure.
It included five potential motives for wanting to kill your husband that were divided into the following categories;
‘Financial: Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?’
‘Lying, cheating b*****d: This is a crime of passion. In anger, you bash his head in or stab him with a kitchen knife.’
‘Fell in love with someone else: Let’s say your Church frowns on divorce. You need to be a widow, so you won’t fall out of favor with your religion.’
‘Abuser: This one is tough. Anybody can claim abuse. What is abuse?’
‘It’s your profession: Now we’re talking. You already possess both skill and knowledge.
‘You have the moral ambiguity necessary to carry it off.’
She also gave the reader ‘options’ on what their murder weapon or technique should be.
She wrote: ‘Guns – 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 – really personal and up close. Blood everywhere. Eww.’
Crampton Brophy now faces life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 13.