Murder, She Wrote: Jury Finds Author Guilty For Husband’s Death

The trial of romance author, Nancy Crampton Brophy, has reached a verdict. Hear more about the murder trial that could be ripped straight from a novel!

Author's Corner

When jobs ask for life experience, I don’t think this is quite what they meant! While most of the world is enraptured by the Depp v. Heard trial currently being televised, us readers have our attentions turned elsewhere. Over in Portland, Oregon, things have been heating up in a trial straight out of a murder mystery book. Nancy Crampton Brophy has been on trial since April for the murder of her husband, Daniel Brophy.

You may ask yourself, what does Bookstr care about some murder trial in Portland, Oregon? The accused is a self-published romance novelist who, back in 2011, wrote a blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” Do you see the irony?

The Curious Case With the Chef Victim

When I first heard about the Brophy trial, I couldn’t really believe what I was hearing. Sure enough, though, Nancy Crampton Brophy was arrested in September of 2018 for the death of her 63-year-old husband, Daniel. Chef Daniel Brophy was found shot dead in a kitchen at the Oregon Culinary Institute in early June. Soon after, Crampton Brophy was charged with his murder.

Portrait of Nancy Crampton Brophy in the middle, her novels Hell on the Heart to the left and The Wrong Brother to the right
Images via Amazon

Evidence and Motives, According to the Author

It’s common for police to suspect the spouse when investigating a murder. Though, it’s unusual for them to have so much evidence to back their claims. As previously mentioned, Crampton Brophy is an author. She specializes in steamy romance novels that feature “pretty men and strong women,” according to her website. Crampton Brophy published a blog post on See Jane Publish, which has since been made private.

Though the 2011 original post of Crampton Brophy’s “How to Murder Your Husband” is no longer available to the public, we are able to see a screenshot of a portion of the work from KOIN, an Oregon news channel. In it, Crampton Brophy talks shop about the ways to… murder. Undoubtedly, Crampton Brophy is a skilled author, but maybe some things are better left in theory than put into practice.

Another interesting little tidbit was that Crampton Brophy recently purchased a ghost-gun kit. However, she continuously stated that it was a research device. “What I can tell you is it was for writing,” she said. “It was not, as you would believe, to murder my husband.”

The Trial

As compelling as the “How to Murder Your Husband” blog post is, prosecutors were not allowed to use it as actual evidence during the trial. The judge determined that since the blog post was written years ago as part of a writing seminar, it could unfairly influence the jury. (No! Really?) However, lawyers are good at talking. They took a different angle, closely relating to another section in Crampton Brophy’s blog post.

“Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?”

“How to Murder Your Husband,” Nancy Crampton Brophy

During the closing arguments, Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet claimed Crampton Brophy only stood to gain from her husband’s death. Reportedly, the Brophys were having financial issues. As such, Overstreet claimed that Crampton Brophy had aspirations to live beyond the means her husband could help provide, seeing as how her books weren’t necessarily topping charts. Investigators found that Crampton Brophy was the beneficiary of “numerous” life insurance policies, which only strengthened their confidence that she planned to murder her husband for the money.

The Verdict

Even though “How to Murder Your Husband” wasn’t permissible in court, it seemed that the evidence was stacked against the 71-year-old romance author. It took the jury two days of deliberation before they finally reached a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder for the shooting of her husband. Crampton Brophy’s sentencing court date has been set for June 13. It is said that she could face anywhere from 25 years to life in prison.

On her website, Crampton Brophy recounts a conference that she attended, stating, “When the book is finished, do you remember the action or the characters?” It’s disheartening to say in this case, we’re going to remember the actions more than the characters.