In the United States, a writer who wrote a piece titled “How To Murder Your Husband” is on trial for…killing her husband.
A large insurance payout, an impoverished suspect who claims to have amnesia, a missing weapon, and surveillance footage that appears to have caught the perpetrator red-handed are all hallmarks of classic detective fiction.
But it’s not the plot of her latest novel for novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy; it’s real life in an Oregon courtroom.
Crampton Brophy, whose novels include “The Wrong Husband” and “The Wrong Lover,” is accused of shooting Daniel Brophy with a gun whose now-missing barrel she purchased on eBay. Prosecutors say the 71-year-old writer was struggling to make mortgage payments but maintained multiple life assurance policies totaling $1.4 million in the event of her husband’s death.
“I do better financially with Dan alive than I do with Dan dead,” she said as she took the stand in Portland this week, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
“Where is the motivation, I wonder? ‘I think you need to work harder on this story, you have a big hole in it,’ an editor would laugh.”
According to Prosecutor Shawn Overstreet, security camera footage captured Crampton Brophy’s minivan outside the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018, almost exactly at the time her chef husband was killed in one of the school’s classrooms.
“You were there at the same time that someone shot your husband….with the exact type of gun that you own and that is now mysteriously missing,” he explained.
Crampton Brophy told the court she has no recollection of being there, but admits she must have been because CCTV images show her driving around looking for inspiration for a story.
“This is not a man I would have shot if I had a bad memory. I believe I would have known every detail if I had shot him.”
Daniel Brophy, 63, was discovered dead by students getting ready for class that morning. He’d been shot two times.
According to investigators, the suspect purchased the barrel of the Glock handgun used in the slaying on eBay.
Despite an extensive police search, that barrel, which would have contained damning forensic evidence, has never been found.
Crampton Brophy admits to purchasing a Glock pistol for her husband’s protection while mushroom hunting in the woods, but claims the missing barrel was purchased as part of research for an unfinished novel. “There was a big difference between what was for writing and what was for protection,” she told the court, according to The Oregonian.
Prosecutors claim Crampton Brophy, whose book “How To Murder Your Husband” is still available online and whose books can be purchased on Amazon, was facing financial ruin prior to her husband’s death but continued to pay into ten separate life insurance policies.
The blog on murdering a husband discusses the methods and motivations for eliminating an unwelcome spouse.
These include monetary gain and the use of a firearm, despite the fact that guns are “loud, messy, and require some skill.”
“But the thing I know about murder is that when pushed far enough, every one of us has it in him/her,” the essay says. The trial, which began in early April, is ongoing.