May 7, 2023 | True Crime

Author of How to Murder Your Husband found guilty of murdering husband

Morgan Collier

Morgan Collier

The Crime 

In June 2022, Nancy Crampton Brophy, a self-published author of steamy romance novels, was sentenced to life in prison by an Oregon judge for the shooting death of her husband of 26 years, Daniel Brophy. Nancy Crampton Brophy was found guilty of second-degree murder for shooting her late spouse in 2018 in order to collect a $1.5m life insurance payout.

Before the murder, Crampton Brophy had gained attention for an essay she had written years earlier titled “How to murder your husband”, which details various options for committing an untraceable killing. The essay discussed possible motives and methods for committing murder, including knives, poison, and guns. 

The opening of the essay reads: “As a romantic 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.”

Although the essay was not admitted as evidence in her trial because it was written prior to the crime, prosecutors successfully argued that Crampton Brophy had both motive and means to commit the murder, as the couple had fallen on hard financial times and she stood to gain a large insurance payout.

Verdict And Sentencing 

In court, surveillance footage showed Crampton Brophy driving to and from the Oregon Culinary Institute, where her husband was a respected chef and teacher at the time of the crime. Although the murder weapon was never found, it was discovered that she had purchased a gun of the same make and model.

During her own defense, the author claimed she had a “memory hole” from the morning of Brophy’s death but could not deny being seen driving around the Institute. After deliberating for less than two days, a jury of 12 found her guilty of second-degree murder.

Crampton Brophy was handed a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.