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‘How to Murder Your Husband,’ blog by romance author on trial accused of murdering husband, won’t be seen by jury

Nancy Crampton-Brophy is accused of fatally shooting Daniel Brophy on June 2, 2018, according to authorities in Oregon.
/ Source: Associated Press

A romance author charged in the 2018 fatal shooting of her husband scored a legal victory this week when a judge ruled that a blog she wrote titled “How to Murder Your Husband” can’t be presented as evidence against her.

Nancy Crampton-Brophy's murder trial in her spouse's death began Monday. The lifeless body of Daniel Brophy, 63, was found June 2, 2018, in the Oregon Culinary Institute, where he taught, authorities said.

Nancy Crampton-Brophy is accused of shooting and killing her husband.
Nancy Crampton-Brophy is accused of shooting and killing her husband.KGW

Crampton-Brophy, then 68, was arraigned on a charge of murder in September 2018. She has pleaded not guilty.

Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet told jurors Monday that Crampton-Brophy was motivated by greed and a $1.4 million insurance policy, The Oregonian newspaper of Portland reported.

Crampton-Brophy has been in custody since her arrest, according to The Oregonian. The couple held a large wedding ceremony in 1997 but weren’t legally married until shortly before Daniel Brophy’s killing, when they signed the official paperwork in Washington County, according to Crampton-Brophy’s attorneys.

Police, who did not release a possible motive, said in a statement in 2018 that based “on information learned during the investigation, detectives believe Nancy L. Crampton-Brophy is the suspect in Daniel C. Brophy’s murder.”

Investigators determined there were no signs of force or struggle and no signs of robbery. Brophy still had his wallet, his cellphone and his car keys with him, according to court documents.

Traffic cameras show Crampton-Brophy’s minivan approaching and departing from city streets near the institute close to the apparent time of the shooting, court documents said.

NBC affiliate KGW of Portland reported that before jurors entered the room Monday, the judge ruled in favor of a defense motion barring them from hearing about the blog Crampton-Brophy wrote 11 years ago: “How to Murder Your Husband.”

The post was old, it was written for a writing seminar and any value it might have, the judge said, was outweighed by the prejudice it might cause in the jury, KGW reported.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Court authorities could not immediately the judge’s ruling on the motion.

Crampton-Brophy described herself on her website as the author of “fiction books under the Romance Suspense genre.” Among her works is a series with the tagline “Wrong never felt so right,” which includes titles such as “The Wrong Hero,” “The Wrong Brother” and “The Wrong Husband.”

“The Wrong Husband” is about a woman who hatches a plan to run away from her abusive husband while they are on an anniversary trip overseas. Her escape efforts are sidetracked when their cruise ship wrecks off Italy.

Brophy’s murder stunned the community. At a vigil outside the culinary school where he taught for decades, students remembered him as an inspiring instructor with a good sense of humor who helped shape their careers.

Crampton-Brophy also mourned him at the vigil, saying: “Daniel was one of the few people I’ve ever known who did exactly what he wanted in life and loved doing it. He was a person who did what he loved: He loved teaching, he loved mushrooms, he loved his family.”

Lead defense attorney Lisa Maxfield said Monday in court that Crampton-Brophy and her finances both deteriorated after her husband died. Crampton-Brophy wasn’t listed on the deed to the couple’s home, and grief prevented her from returning to her day job selling Medicare policies, Maxfield said, according to The Oregonian.

She lost “a great listener, a wonderful lover, a consummate chef and true life partner,” Maxfield said.

The “circumstantial case” against Crampton-Brophy “begs you to cast a blind eye to the most powerful evidence of all: love,” Maxfield said. Her client had no reason to kill her husband, she said.

Prosecutors said Crampton-Brophy used a Glock pistol she bought at a Portland gun show to shoot her husband after having bought a “ghost gun” assembly kit online, The Oregonian reported.

She is alleged to have then swapped out the gun’s barrel with an identical mechanism, preventing forensic experts from matching the spent bullets with the original slide-racking system, which law enforcement officers were never able to recover, prosecutors said.

The trial is expected to last seven weeks.