‘How to Murder Your Husband’ author found guilty of murdering her husband

Murder defendant Nancy Crampton Brophy in court
Nancy Crampton Brophy, left, who was accused of killing her husband in June 2018, watches proceedings in a Portland, Ore., courtroom last month.
(Dave Killen / Oregonian)

A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist — who once wrote an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband” — of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.

After deliberating over two days, the jury of seven women and five men found Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday in the death of chef Daniel Brophy, KOIN-TV reported.

Daniel Brophy, 63, was killed June 2, 2018, as he prepared for work at the Oregon Culinary Institute in southwest Portland.


Crampton Brophy displayed no visible reaction to the verdict Wednesday inside the crowded Multnomah County courtroom.

Lisa Maxfield, one of her attorneys, said the defense team plans to appeal.

Prosecutors told jurors that Crampton Brophy was motivated by money problems and a life insurance policy.

The vigil at the Uvalde County Fairplex on Wednesday night was a coming together and a communal letting of sorrow and emotion.

Crampton Brophy contended during the trial that she had no reason to kill her husband and that their financial problems had largely been solved by cashing in a chunk of Brophy’s retirement savings plan.

She owned the same make and model of gun used to kill her husband and was seen on surveillance camera video driving to and from the culinary institute, court exhibits and testimony showed.

Police never found the gun that killed Brophy. Prosecutors alleged that Crampton Brophy swapped out the barrel of the gun used in the shooting and then discarded the barrel.

Defense attorneys said the gun parts were inspiration for Crampton Brophy’s writing and suggested someone else might have killed Brophy during a robbery gone wrong. Crampton Brophy testified during the trial that her presence near the culinary school on the day of her husband’s death was coincidence and that she had parked in the area to work on her writing.

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Crampton Brophy’s how-to treatise detailed various options for committing an untraceable killing and professed a desire to avoid getting caught. Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras ultimately excluded the essay from the trial, noting that it was published in 2011. A prosecutor, however, alluded to the essay’s themes without naming it after Crampton Brophy took the stand.

Crampton Brophy has remained in custody since her arrest in September 2018, several months after her husband was killed. Her sentencing has been scheduled for June 13.