An Oregon jury on Wednesday found romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, author of the online essay, "How to Murder Your Husband, guilty of murder after a seven-week-long trial, according to local reports.
An indictment alleges that in June 2018, Brophy, 71, "did unlawfully and intentionally cause the death of" her husband, Daniel Brophy, using a 9 mm pistol. Nancy fatally shot Daniel in the back at the Oregon Culinary Institute (OCI), where he worked, on the morning of June 2, 2018, when the Portland Police Bureau initially opened an investigation into the case, the jury determined Wednesday.
"The reality is the last time Nancy saw Dan was when she stood over him and then looked him in his eyes as he’s breathing in his last bit of life, paralyzed, and injured," lead prosecutor Shawn Overstreet said Wednesday, according to FOX 12 Oregon. "He wasn’t dead yet. So she looked into his eyes and pulled that trigger one last time. That’s the last time she saw him."
Former Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill charged Brophy with one count of murder with a firearm in September 2018, but her trial was delayed due to COVID-19, court documents show.
An affidavit alleges that security footage from that day shows Nancy driving in front of the OCI building at 7:08 a.m., before Daniel arrived. The footage then apparently shows her leaving the OCI building shortly after Daniel's arrival at 7:28 a.m. Daniel's coworker entered the building shortly afterward but did not discover Daniel's body in one of the school's kitchens until 8 a.m.
Detectives interviewed Nancy after Daniel's death, and she allegedly told them that she had been home the morning of June 2 and left only after getting a call from OCI. She apparently said she had previously bought a 9 mm handgun but never used it, the affidavit says.
Overstreet also argued that Brophy's alibi was confusing, citing her claim while being cross-examined on the witness stand that while she was driving in the area of OCI on the day Daniel died, she did not remember being behind the wheel, FOX 12 reported.
"None of this makes sense," the prosecutor said. "If you’re trying to make sense of this in your head, and you’re going, ‘I don’t get it, I can’t fathom these stories,' [it's] because they’re all designed to make you confused because defense is hoping your confusion somehow equals reasonable doubts, and I can assure, confusion is not reasonable doubt."
Court documents further allege that Nancy called detectives in June requesting a letter stating she was not a suspect in her husband's homicide to provide to her life insurance company because she had a policy for Daniel valued around $40,000. Prosecutors also claimed that following her husband's death, Nancy made claims on 10 life insurance policies valued around $1.4 million for which she was the beneficiary, according to FOX 12.
The prosecution argued that the Brophies began to struggle financially in 2016, and Nancy began researching ghost guns in 2017. She then apparently spent $15,000 on a ghost gun and parts in 2017, FOX 12 reported, citing prosecutors.
Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras ruled ahead of the weeks-long trial that prosecutors could not use Brophy's "How to Murder Your Husband" essay, which lists motives for murdering one's husband, as evidence in the trial. Brophy's other works include "The Wrong Series," including books "The Wrong Cop," "The Wrong Husband," "The Wrong Seal," "The Wrong Lover," "The Wrong Hero" and other titles such as "The Girl Most Likely To."