By Nehru Odeh
Nancy Crampton Brophy, a romance novelist who wrote a piece entitled “How To Murder Your Husband” is currently on trial in a US court for killing her 63-year-old husband, Daniel Brophy, on 2 June 2018.
Strange? Wait for this. What makes it more intriguing is that the crime followed an uncanny fatalism. The novelist used her recipe- what she had said in her controversial piece: the pattern, the whys, how and when to dispatch her husband to an early grave.
However, aside from the brazenness of the crime and its well-conceived premeditation, it has the hallmarks of classic detective fiction — a huge insurance payout, an impecunious suspect who claims to have amnesia, a missing weapon, and surveillance footage that seems to have caught the culprit red-handed.
Not only it is believed Brophy committed the crime because of the huge insurance payout she hoped to get if her husband died, but she is also currently claiming she is suffering from amnesia.
Still, Brophy, known for writing the “Wrong Never Felt So Right” series of novels, does not feel she has done any wrong. But she stands accused of shooting Daniel, using a gun whose now missing barrel she bought on eBay.
Circumstantial evidence as well as what she had written in that piece, make her a prime suspect. Prosecutors say Brophy was struggling to make payments on her mortgage but kept up multiple life assurance policies that would pay out a total of $1.4 million in the event of her husband’s demise. That insurance payout she would get if her husband dies is one of the reasons she killed him.
“I do better with Dan alive financially than I do with Dan dead,” she said as she took the stand in Portland this week, The Oregonian newspaper reported.
“Where is the motivation I would ask you? An editor would laugh and say, ‘I think you need to work harder on this story, you have a big hole in it.’”
Prosecutor Shawn Overstreet said security camera footage had captured Crampton Brophy’s minivan outside the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018, at almost exactly the time her chef husband was killed in one of the school’s classrooms.
“You were there at the same time that someone happens to be shooting your husband….with the exact type of gun that you own and which is now mysteriously missing,” he said.
Brophy told the court she has no memory of being there, though acknowledges she must have been, insisting the CCTV images show her in the area because she was driving around getting inspiration for a story.
“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.”
Daniel, 63, was found dead that morning by students readying for a class. He had been shot twice.
Investigators say the barrel from the Glock handgun used in the slaying was purchased by the suspect on eBay.
That barrel — which would contain damning forensic clues — has never been recovered, despite an exhaustive police search.
Brophy admits having bought a Glock pistol, which she says was for her husband to protect himself when he went mushroom hunting in the woods, but says the missing barrel was purchased as part of research for an unfinished novel.
“There was a big separation between what was for writing and what was for protection,” she told the court, The Oregonian reported.
- Prosecutors say, Brophy, whose “How To Murder Your Husband” remains accessible online and whose books can be bought on Amazon, was facing financial ruin before her husband’s death but continued to pay into 10 separate life insurance policies.
The blog on murdering a husband discusses methods and motivations for dispatching an unwanted spouse. These include financial gain and the use of a firearm, although it notes guns are “loud, messy, require some skill.”
“But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us has it in him/her when pushed far enough,” the essay says.