Author of the essay “How to Murder Your Husband,” Nancy Crampton-Brophy, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her husband.
Crampton-Brophy, 71, was convicted in May of second-degree murder in the June 2018 death of her husband, chef Daniel Brophy, who was gunned down at the culinary school where he taught cooking classes.
In court documents, prosecutors said the 63-year-old man had been shot twice — once in the back as he stood at a sink filling ice and water buckets for the students, and then in the chest at close range.
A jury found that she shot her husband of 26 years in 2018 for a $1.5m (£1.2m) life insurance pay-out.
Before her crime, Crampton Brophy had been a self-published author whose works of steamy romance and suspense include novels such as “The Wrong Husband” and “The Wrong Lover”.
Her late husband, Daniel Brophy, was a chef and respected teacher at the Oregon Culinary Institute.
Crampton Brophy made the bizarre assertion at a court in Portland, Oregon, in May when asked about a photo of her driving her car around the time husband had been murdered in the summer four years ago.
She agreed that it looked just like her in the car, but insists she couldn’t remember being there.
She then added: ‘You know what they say, old age isn’t for sissies.
‘I turn 65, I’m starting to lose my eyesight, I’m looking at this thinking “Oh man, I’m starting to lose my mind. How can this have happened and me not remember this” ..
‘Even now, my mind kind of goes blank with the horror of it.’
No other suspects have ever been named or sought by police, and Crampton Brophy is the only person arrested over the crime.
Despite not remembering being in the vicinity at the time, she claims she recalled seeing a mysterious man in a van in the area the same day.
Crampton Brophy said: ‘I am seeing myself sitting at this park, writing.’
‘The reason why this sticks out, it was a parking lot, it looks empty, but there was a white van there,’ she added. ‘But there was some guy that kept walking back and forth, walking back and forth. It was just enough to throw me out of there that I moved.’
When asked by her attorney if it is in fact a real memory, Brophy said it is and she described what she was doing in the car.
‘I have a pad of paper, I’m jotting things down. It’s a pleasant day, I can remember that because it wasn’t raining. It’s shady, I’m sitting here pulling it together. It would be a place I would have felt very comfortable writing, so I’m sure it’s a true memory,’ Brophy said.
No murder weapon was ever found. Crampton Brophy was found to be in possession of a ghost gun kit and a Glock after her husband’s murder, but neither fired the bullets that killed him.
She also denied claims she killed Daniel Brophy for an expensive life insurance policy that paid out $1.4 million following his death.
When recalling her husband’s death Crampton Brophy got emotional, saying she lost a huge part of her life.
‘It’s like you’ve lost an arm. You know?’ Brophy said. ‘Like, you’re just not as good as you were when you’re with him. When you’re with him, you were the best you could be. And now, it’s like yeah, I function, but there’s something missing.’
Brophy said that the couple was in debt and they both began selling Medicare insurance in order to have a steady income and they also agreed to fix their house up in order to sell it as well as taking out a loan against their 401k plan for landscaping, kptv.com reported.
‘Dan knew the credit card debt was going to kill us,’ Brophy said. ‘We could only sustain so much interest. That was really his first concern was let’s get rid of the debt. My first concern was also lets get ready to get the house sold.’
Prosecutors claim that Crampton Brophy was motivated by her husband’s $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.
The court also previously heard how she had bought a ‘ghost gun’ assembly kit online on Christmas Eve 2017, which Brophy himself signed for when it was delivered in January 2018, and his wife was traveling for work.
Unable to put the gun together, Crampton Brophy bought another gun at a Portland gun show in February 2018 and, a month later, began practicing at a gun range.
But in May, Crampton Brophy testified that her fascination with ghost guns grew after reading about them in the New York Times and planned on writing a romance novel about a woman who was scared for her safety, with each chapter introducing a new piece pf the gun.
Previously in the trial, Judge Ramras ruled that prosecutors cannot introduce as evidence an essay titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ that Crampton Brophy wrote in 2011 while applying to a writer’s group.
‘As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure,’ Crampton Brophy wrote in the essay.
‘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.’
The essay also weighed valid motives for murder, including infidelity and the costs of a divorce, and methods; knives are ‘really personal’ while guns are ‘loud, messy (and) require some skill.’
But Ramras deemed the post too old to be relevant – and said that any value it may provide the trial is outweighed by the prejudice it may spark.
He ruled that ‘any minimal probative value of an article written that long ago is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion of the issues.’
Crampton Brophy also wrote in an online biography about the struggles of being married to a chef.
‘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 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 our wishes.’