Author accused of killing husband for $1million insurance payout

REVEALED: ‘How To Murder Your Husband’ author, 69, is accused of killing her spouse to get $1.1million in insurance payouts, according to court papers filed to stop her getting bail during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Nancy Crampton Brophy, 69, is accused of murdering her husband, Dan Brophy, 63, in Portland in June 2018 
  • Prosecutors say Crampton Brophy, a romance novelist, committed the crime for financial gain
  • They wrote in legal memo opposing her request for release on bail that Crampton Brophy was sole beneficiary of ‘numerous’ insurance policies 
  • DA’s Office claimed she wanted financial independence and wished to travel the world 
  • They alleged Crampton Brophy replaced original parts in Glock with replacement parts to throw police off 
  • Case made headlines after it was revealed Crampton Brothy wrote essay about murdering a husband  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A romance mystery novelist is accused of killing her culinary instructor husband to get access to more than $1.1million in insurance payments, according to court documents which were filed in opposition to a request seeking her release of from prison due to coronavirus fears.

Nancy Crampton Brophy, 69, has been behind bars since September 2018 after Portland police say she shot Daniel Brophy, 63, her husband of 27 years, at the Oregon Culinary Institute that June.

The case made international headlines after it was revealed that Crampton Brophy once wrote an essay titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband.’

Earlier this month, Campton Brophy’s lawyers asked a judge to release her from jail and allow her to spend the rest of the coronavirus outbreak at an undisclosed guest house, arguing that she was ‘at risk of imminent death in jail.’ 

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Nancy Crampton Brophy, 69, appeared in court in a face mask on Tuesday for her bail hearing. She has been jailed since September 2019 for the murder of her husband, Dan Brophy (right)

Crampton Brophy is seeking release over her coronavirus concerns, with her lawyers arguing that she is at risk of death in jail 

The defense team claimed their client’s age and diabetic history require her immediate transfer from the Multnomah County Detention Center to what they described as ‘alternate confinement.’

Multnomah County prosecutors have rejected the release proposal outright. On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office filed a memorandum in support of the bail denial, laying out the evidence against Crampton Brophy and revealing a possible motive behind her husband’s murder, reported KGW8. 

The romance novelist once wrote an essay titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ and expressed interest in police procedures and murder 

According to the newly released documents, the romance novelist and her husband were struggling to make ends meet, and Crampton Brophy was seeking financial independence and a more exciting lifestyle, which hinged on her desire to travel the world.  

‘Nancy Brophy planned and carried out what she believed was the perfect murder. A murder that she believed would free her from the grips of financial despair and enter a life of financial security and adventure,’ Multnomah County District Attorney Rod wrote in the legal memo.

According to Underhill, Crampton Brophy stood to gain $1.15million from ‘numerous’ life insurance policies taken out on her husband, of which she was the sole beneficiary. 

She was knowledgeable about the insurance industry and sold all the policies to herself in her capacity as an insurance agent. 

Crampton Brophy also made an accidental death benefit worker’s compensation claim because her husband lost his life at his place of employment.  

A review of the couple’s bank accounts showed they appeared to be living month to month and struggled to pay their mortgage, according to court documents. 

Despite being in dire financial straits, Crampton Brophy paid a total of $16,000 in life insurance premiums in 2017, the court records stated. 

She also spent more than $1,500 on firearms and gun components in less than two months leading up to Dan’s killing. 

‘Dan Brophy was content in his simplistic lifestyle, but Nancy Brophy wanted something more. As Nancy Brophy became more financially desperate and her writing career was floundering, she was left with few options,’ Underhill argued. 

According to the memo, surveillance video from businesses located near the culinary school placed a minivan that appeared to be the same as Crampton Bruphy’s in downtown Portland at the time of her husband’s murder.

On the morning of June 2, 2018, Brophy’s culinary students found him fatally shot twice in the classroom where he taught. 

When asked about her whereabouts around the time of the killing, Brophy’s wife told detectives she was home all morning.   

Prosecutors believe that Crampton Brophy used a Glock that she and her husband had bought for protection, but swapped some of the original parts with replacements to make it appear as if the firearm has never been used. 

This image shows some of Crampton Brophy’s romance titles, which have not brought her much success 

They said she shot her husband and then reassembled the gun using its original parts, ‘presenting a new, fully intact firearm to police that would not be a match to the shell casings that she left at the crime scene.’ 

During the murder investigation, detectives learned Crampton Brophy wrote an article titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband,’ which The Oregonian first reported on. Detectives also found a saved article on the couple’s joint iTunes account titled ’10 Ways to Cover Up a Murder.’

The novelist, whose titles include The Wrong Husband and The Wrong Cop, previously spoke about her home life in writer forums, where she said her and Dan’s marriage, like any other, had its ‘ups and downs’.

The blog post, which she wrote on site Seeing Jane in 2011, began: ‘As a suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure.

‘After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail, And let me say clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange isn’t my color.’

It included five potential motives for wanting to kill your husband that were divided into the following categories;

‘Financial: Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?’

‘Lying, cheating b*****d: This is a crime of passion. In anger, you bash his head in or stab him with a kitchen knife.’

‘Fell in love with someone else: Let’s say your Church frowns on divorce. You need to be a widow, so you won’t fall out of favor with your religion.’

‘Abuser: This one is tough. Anybody can claim abuse. What is abuse?’

‘It’s your profession: Now we’re talking. You already possess both skill and knowledge.

‘You have the moral ambiguity necessary to carry it off.’

She also gave the reader ‘options’ on what their murder weapon or technique should be.

She wrote: ‘Guns – loud, messy, require some skill. If it takes 10 shots for the sucker to die, either you have terrible aim or he’s on drugs.

‘Knives – really personal and up close. Blood everywhere. Eww.’

Prosecutors said Crampton Brophy killed her husband of 27 years for financial gain because she was the sole beneficiary of ‘numerous’ insurance policies in his name 

She went on to describe poison as the ‘woman’s weapon’ but described why it was not ideal because it took so long to kill the intended victim.

‘Poison – considered a woman’s weapon. Arsenik is easy to obtain, worse, easy to trace. It takes a month or two to kill someone. Plus, they’re sick the entire time.

‘Who wants to hang out with a sick husband? Knowledge of pharmaceuticals would be handy. Availability would be even better,’ she wrote.

Though she said she found it ‘easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them’, she said ominously: ‘The thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.’ 

The bail hearing for Crampton Brophy got under way on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday afternoon. 

Crampton Brophy is among a growing number of inmates in Oregon and around the U.S. seeking release from local, state and federal custody amid the coronavirus epidemic, which public health experts say can spread more aggressively within jails than the community at large. 


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