‘How to Murder Your Husband’ Writer Nancy Brophy Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Husband


A self-published novelist – who once wrote an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband” – was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of her husband four years ago. Nancy Crampton Brophy was sentenced last month in the 2018 murder of her chief husband, Daniel Brophy.

Judge Christopher Ramras, who presided over the trial, said Crampton Brophy would be considered for parole after 25 years, KOIN-TV reported.

The sentencing included impact statements from members of Daniel Brophy’s family, including his son, Nathaniel Stillwater, the station reported.

“You are a freak and I am ashamed to have to admit to my children that people like you walk among us undetected,” Stillwater said. “You lived in the shadow of a great human being.”

Brophy, 63, was killed June 2, 2018 while preparing to work at the Oregon Culinary Institute in southwest Portland. He had worked at school since 2006.

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

However, Crampton Brophy testified during the trial that she had no reason to kill her husband and that their financial troubles were largely resolved by cashing in part of Brophy’s retirement savings plan.

She had the same make and model of firearm used to kill her husband and was seen on CCTV footage driving to and from the culinary institute, court exhibits and court testimony were shown.

Nancy L. Crampton-Brophy is seen during a court appearance in Multnomah County, Oregon, September 6, 2018.
Nancy L. Crampton-Brophy is seen during a court appearance in Multnomah County, Oregon, September 6, 2018.


The police never found the gun that killed Brophy. Prosecutors alleged that Crampton Brophy swapped 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 could have killed Brophy during a robbery that went wrong turned. Crampton Brophy testified during the trial that her presence near the culinary school on the day of her husband’s death was just a coincidence and that she had parked in the neighborhood to work on her writing.

Crampton Brophy’s treatise how-two detailed various options for committing untraceable murder and professed a desire to avoid getting caught. Circuit Ramras ultimately excluded the essay from the lawsuit, noting that it was published in 2011.

“Any minimal probative value of a paper written so long ago is far outweighed by the danger of unfair bias and confusion of issues,” Ramras said.

A prosecutor, however, alluded to the themes of the trial without naming him after Crampton Brophy spoke up in his own defense.

Crampton Brophy has remained in custody since her arrest in September 2018, several months after her husband was shot. His sentencing is scheduled for June 13.

In a online biography showcasing her work, Crampton Brophy writes that she is “married to a leader whose mantra is: life is a science project.”

“As a result, there are chickens and turkeys in my garden, a fabulous vegetable patch that also grows tobacco for insecticide and a hot meal on the table every night,” she writes. “For those of you who have been waiting for this, let me warn you. The old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for, when the gods are really angry, they grant our wishes.”

Neighbor Don McConnell told KOIN-TV in 2018 that Brophy didn’t seem upset in the wake of Brophy’s death. “She’s taking it well, and that’s what I said, you know, I said maybe some people can handle things better than others,” McConnell said.

Crampton Brophy was busy preparing to move, McConnell said. “Even after she said, ‘I’m a suspect,'” he said, “I just thought oh, yeah, well, they still suspect the opposite spouse.”


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