Oregon Romance Novelist Allegedly Killed Husband for $1M Insurance Policy: Prosecutors

Nancy Crampton-Brophy is accused of murdering her husband, Dan Brophy

Photo: Courtesy Brophy Family

The Oregon romance novelist who is accused of killing her chef husband allegedly would have pocketed over $1.5 million in insurance money from his death, prosecutors allege.

The allegation came to light recently in court documents filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, who presented evidence in court yesterday that Nancy Crampton-Brophy should be denied bail. She has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against her.

Her attorneys have argued that Crampton-Brophy, 69, who is being held without bail in the Multnomah County Detention Center, should be released and transferred to a guest house because her health is at risk because of the coronavirus, the Oregonian reports.

A hearing on the matter began yesterday.

Crampton-Brophy, a self-published romance novelist who sold Medicare and life insurance policies, is accused of killing her husband Dan Brophy, an instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute, in June of 2018.

“Dan Brophy was content in his simplistic lifestyle, but Nancy Brophy wanted something more,” states the prosecutor’s motion, which was obtained by PEOPLE. “The bottom line is Dan Brophy was worth almost $1.5 million dollars to Nancy Brophy if he was dead and he was worth a life of financial hardship if he stayed alive. Nancy Brophy planned and carried out what she believed was the perfect murder. A murder that she believed would free her from the grips of financial despair and enter a life of financial security and adventure.”

Nancy Crampton-BrophyCredit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Nancy Crampton-Brophy. Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

On June 2, students at the Oregon Culinary Institute found Brophy unconscious in one of the kitchens. One of the students attempted CPR but he died at the scene. Brophy was shot twice, first in the back and then once in the chest at close range. Two 9 mm shell casings were found at the scene.

According to the motion, video surveillance allegedly showed a minivan that appeared to be the same as one Crampton-Brophy drove in the area of the culinary institute between 6:39 a.m. and 7:28 a.m. Brophy arrived at the Oregon Culinary Institute at 7:20 a.m.

After the shooting, Crampton-Brophy told detectives that she and her husband bought a Glock at a gun show after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. She said they never used it and didn’t buy ammunition for the gun. However, detectives allegedly discovered that Crampton-Brophy purchased a Glock slide and barrel on eBay and put those parts on the Glock bought at the gun show.

Prosecutors allege she shot her husband and then switched the eBay slide and barrel with the original slide and barrel purchased at the gun show, “thus being able to present a new, fully intact firearm to police that would not be a match to the shell casings that she left at the crime scene,” the motion alleges.

Detectives never found the eBay slide and barrel they believe she used in the shooting.

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During the investigation, detectives also discovered that Brophy was the sole beneficiary to over $1.15 million in life insurance and worker’s compensation policies. The couple also had about $312,000 in equity in their home.

“Nancy Brophy stood to collect almost $1.5 million upon Dan Brophy’s death,” the motion states.


According to the motion, associates of the couple told detectives that Crampton-Brophy “expressed an interest in selling their home and traveling the world,” but “Dan Brophy would not be easy to convince.”

Prosecutors said the couple had financial hardships over the years and appeared to live on a month-to-month budget.

RELATED: What Romance Novelist Told a Neighbor Before Surprise Arrest in Chef Husband’s Murder

“Despite a dire financial situation Nancy Brophy ensured she paid the life insurance premiums leading up to the murder,” according to the motion. “In fact, she paid over $16,000.00 in insurance premiums in 2017 while the Brophy’s fell over $6,000.00 behind in mortgage payments that same year.”

Suspect Wrote Essay: ‘How to Murder Your Husband’

Crampton-Brophy’s writing also came under question.

In November 2011, long before she was accused of murder, she explained the perfect way to kill one’s husband in a tongue-in-cheek essay on her website entitled “How to Murder Your Husband.”

In a wry tone, in which she assumes the persona of a woman who wants to murder her husband, Nancy wrote, “Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?”

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She added, “Or if you married for money, aren’t you entitled to all of it? The drawback is the police aren’t stupid. They are looking at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very clever.”

Crampton-Brophy concluded the piece by noting that “it is easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them.”

Her attorneys could not be reached for comment.

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