Romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, who once wrote an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband,” was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of her husband four years ago.
Her husband, Daniel Brophy, 63, was found dead inside a kitchen at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland back in 2018, where he was preparing to work.
A Multnomah County jury of seven women and five men announced the guilty verdict of the 71-year-old writer after two days of deliberation.
“We’ve all been waiting [four] years to start grieving this loss,” Nathaniel Stillwater, son of Brophy, said. “To finally have some closure has been very important and meaningful for our family so we can start to move on and always remember my father, but begin that process of trying to grieve.”
The lead detective in the case, Anthony Merrill, testified that there were no leads that pointed away from Crampton as a suspect.
Investigators said that the gun that fired the two bullets that struck Daniel’s heart was never found. The two casings found at the scene had different markings from those left by the handgun built from a ghost gun kit that Crampton possessed.
However, a key moment in the trial was when Crampton admitted that she had bought another slide and barrel for “research” and that it had gone missing when people moved her belongings from her house while she was in jail.
Prosecutors speculated that Crampton used these parts to build another gun frame to commit the murder and then disposed of the parts. They believe she possessed a handgun with a different slide and barrel to draw attention away from herself.
Detectives collected two ghost gun kits for a Glock 17 and 19 handgun from Crampton’s home.
As for motive, investigators pointed to the couple’s strained finances and argued that Crampton intended to cash in on her husband’s life insurance policy to get herself out of debt.
Months before the murder, the couple had taken $35,000 out of Brophy’s 401K account to pay back credit card debts and mortgage payments.
After receiving the verdict, Crampton showed no emotional reaction.
The defense team said they plan to appeal the decision.
Interestingly, Crampton wrote a detailed how-to essay published in 2011 titled “How to Kill Your Husband,” which was alluded to by prosecutors after Crampton took the stand.
Crampton’s sentencing will take place on June 13.