A woman who penned an essay titled "How to Murder Your Husband" has been found guilty by a jury of killing her real-life husband.
Romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, –– who was on trial for fatally shooting her 63-year-old husband Dan Brophy in June 2018 –– was found guilty early Wednesday morning in Oregon.
Nancy Stood to Gain 'A Generous Amount' from Dan's Insurance Money
On the morning of his death, Dan was filling buckets of ice and water at a sink, preparing for his day as an instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute. Then, someone came into the kitchen and shot him in the back. Dan fell to the ground, and was shot again in the chest at close range. He was found by students a short time later.
During the seven-week trial, prosecutors said Nancy stood to gain a generous amount of Dan's insurance money following his death. They called in witnesses who claimed the pair were suffering financial hardships when Dan was killed in the Oregon Culinary Institute. There, he served as a chef and teacher.
Nancy's van was also spotted near the institute on traffic cameras the day of the murder, prosecutors pointed out, noting in closing arguments that the author lied about where she was on the fateful morning.
Nancy Bought a 'Ghost Gun' Kit Online to Avoid Getting Caught
As for the weapon used, prosecutors argued Nancy looked up and bought a "ghost gun" kit online before purchasing a Glock 17 handgun while at the Portland Gun Expo. She later bought a separate slide and barrel that could fit the weapon, prosecutors said.
Though the slide and barrel Nancy bought were not used in the murder, prosecutors said during the trial that police were never able to find the extra slide and barrel to match them with the bullets used. One of Nancy's previous cellmates, Andrea Jacobs, also testified that Nancy told her Dan was shot two times to the heart.
Nancy's Lawyers Claimed Evidence was Circumstantial
In her defense, Nancy's lawyers argued that the evidence as circumstantial and insisted Nancy would never kill her husband because of their endless love for one another. Her niece testified that she saw the couple's romance for herself and "personally observed" Nancy "grieving, crying, sobbing, breaking down many times," after Dan's death.
Once on the stand, Nancy opened up about her late husband, telling the jury, "It's like you've lost an arm. Like you're just not as good as you were when you're with him. You were the best you could be when you were together with him. Now it's like, yeah, I function, but there's something missing."
She admitted she and Dan had money issues, but said they were going to downsize their home and that they only bought life insurance policies for their retirement plan. She said that she looked into ghost guns as an inspiration for a future novel.
Nancy Claimed She Suffered from 'Amnesia' Following Dan's Death
Last week, prosecutors cross-examined Nancy over her explanation for why security camera footage captured her minivan outside the Oregon Culinary Institute around the same time that the murder took place on the morning of June 2, 2018.
Crampton Brophy and a psychologist called by the defense said she suffered retrograde amnesia from the later trauma of learning her husband had been killed, as reported by Oregon Live. The condition erased Crampton Brophy's memory that she had driven on streets directly adjacent to the school at the time, they said.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet then asked her how then was she so sure that she didn't shoot her husband and then simply forget that, too?
"At the critical moments," he said, "you were there at the same time that someone happens to be shooting your husband, within a six-minute window, with the exact type of gun that you own and which is now mysteriously missing."
Nancy replied that she couldn't have possibly forgotten the killing. "I see Dan every day. I talk to him every day," she said. "This is not a man I would have shot because I had a memory issue. It seems to me if I had shot him, I would know every detail." She added that she was driving around the area jotting down ideas for a story — a pure coincidence — because she liked that neighborhood for inspiration.
Nancy's 2011 Essay
Written in 2011, Nancy explained the perfect way to kill one's husband in a tongue-in-cheek essay, in which she wrote, "Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?"
"Or if you married for money, aren't you entitled to all of it? The drawback is the police aren't stupid," she added. "They are looking at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very clever."
"After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don't want to spend any time in jail," she noted. "And let me say clearly for the record, I don't like jumpsuits and orange isn't my color."
However, Judge Christopher Ramras previously ruled that Nancy's self-published essay would not be included in evidence, per CBS News, stating, "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."