It’s official: The woman who wrote the 2011 essay “How to Murder Your Husband” has been convicted of murdering her husband. Nancy Crampton Brophy, the wife of Oregon Culinary Institute Instructor Daniel Brophy, was found guilty of second-degree murder when a Multnomah County jury delivered its verdict Wednesday, May 25.
Brophy was found dead at the cooking school in 2018, shot twice in the chest. Months later, Crampton Brophy was arrested for her husband’s murder; a 2019 affidavit noted that surveillance cameras placed Crampton Brophy near the school around the time of Brophy’s death, as well as the significant life insurance payout Crampton Brophy would receive.
During the trial, which took place over the last two months, the prosecution provided more details about the circumstances surrounding Brophy’s death. Crampton Brophy had purchased the same make and model of gun that was used to kill her husband; police believe she had swapped out the barrel of the gun to make it harder to trace. The confirmed murder weapon was never found. Crampton Brophy was the listed beneficiary on numerous life insurance policies and would have been eligible to collect $815,000 in life insurance after her husband’s death, according to court testimony and exhibits.
The defense argued that Crampton Brophy didn’t have a strong enough motive to justify killing her husband — the couple’s finances were not as dire as the prosecution had indicated, thanks to an influx of cash from Brophy’s retirement payout. The defense also indicated that most of the circumstantial evidence supplied by the prosecution was related to Crampton Brophy’s career as a writer: The team attributed the purchase of the gun to research and argued she had been out driving to work on her writing. The defense attributed the inconsistent alibi supplied by Crampton Brophy — she had previously stated she was home all morning — to shock-induced retrograde amnesia.
Crampton Brophy has yet to be sentenced.