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‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Author Stands Trial For Allegedly Killing Her Spouse

Photo: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Daniel Brophy, Nancy Crampton Brophy

An Oregon-based, self-published romance novelist accused of murdering her husband in 2018 is now on trial.

Nancy Crampton Brophy, now 71, has been in custody since September 2018.

She is facing one count of murder in the shooting of her 63-year-old husband Daniel Brophy, who was found dead in June 2018.

Nancy Crampton Brophy wrote an essay titled 'How To Murder Your Husband' before her husband's death.

In November 2011, Crampton Brophy penned an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband." In the essay, she listed five potential motives for the murder, with financial, cheating and abuse among them.

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“As a romantic suspense writer, I spent a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure,” Crampton Brophy wrote.

The judge overseeing the trial, Christopher Ramras, said on Monday that the essay will not be included in the evidence.

“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,” Ramras said.

Daniel Brophy’s students found his body in his classroom at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, where he had worked since 2006. Crampton Brophy wrote in her online biography, which is no longer available, that she is “married to a chef whose mantra is: life is a science project.”

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"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 continues. "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."

Traffic cameras picked up Crampton Brophy’s minivan at the culinary school near 7:30 a.m. on June 2, 2018, the time of Daniel Brophy’s death. 

Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Sean Overstreet told jurors that Crampton Brophy followed her husband to work and fatally shot him twice in the back. Overstreet claimed that her motivation was a $1.4 million life insurance policy.

In her essay, Crampton Brophy wrote about financial motivations for murder, writing, "Divorce is expensive, do you really want to split your possessions?"

She also included a list of potential murder weapons, a gun was listed among them. 

Lead defense attorney Lisa Maxfield disputed the prosecution's claims by stating that Crampton Brophy’s finances took a downturn after her husband’s death. Maxfield added that Crampton Brophy will defend herself at the stand.

Authorities did not name any other suspects related to the case.

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. He majors in journalism at the University of Central Florida with a minor in sports business. Follow him on Twitter.