Author Nancy Crampton Brophy Convicted of Killing Husband

Author Nancy Crampton Brophy Convicted of Killing Husband

Multnomah County Sheriff's Department

Author Nancy Crampton Brophy has been convicted on murder charges and sentenced to life behind bars for the 2018 killing of her husband, Daniel Brophy. Bizarrely enough, Nancy Brophy penned an essay in 2011 called “How to Murder Your Husband,” in a turn that would sound ridiculous if it was a plot point in a mystery novel.

Brophy, a 71-year-old native of Oregon, is a self-published romance novelist. Prosecutors accused her of killing her spouse to reap a $1.5 million life insurance policy–a motivation that might also sound right at home in a mystery novel. The authorities claim that Brophy used a store-bought weapon to carry out the slaying, but changed the barrel out so it didn’t match shell casings found at the scene.

Dan Brophy’s Death

Dan Brophy died on the morning of June 2, 2018. At the time, he worked as an instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute. He was filling water at a sink in the school when he was attacked from behind, shot in the back and the chest. His students found him later that morning, but it was too late–he had already succumbed to his injuries. Police searched the scene and recovered shell casings, and compared them to a weapon Nancy Brophy handed over during the investigation.

The authorities were unable to match the shell casings to the barrel of Nancy’s weapon, but they still had their suspicions. Prosecutors pointed out that Nancy had penned an essay on the topic of killing one’s own spouse, and the investigation centered around her as a person of interest.

The Essay

The judge in Brophy’s case ruled that the essay was inadmissible, but it has played a role in the reporting surrounding the case. In the essay, Nancy assumes the role of a woman who is considering a split from her husband but doesn’t want to go through the messy prospect of a divorce. “Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?” the essay reads.

The author went on, “Or if you married for money, aren’t you entitled to all of it? The drawback is the police aren’t stupid. They are looking at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very clever.” 

Shortly following her husband’s death, Nancy tried to collect on a number of life insurance policies taken out in Dan’s name. She also sought a letter from the police saying she wasn’t involved in his death just four days after the incident. Nancy was arrested in connection to the murder in September 2018 and was sentenced to life in prison earlier this week.