A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist — who once wrote an essay titled— or fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
The jury of seven women and five men found Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday after deliberating over two days in chef‘s death, KOIN-TV reported.
Brophy, 63, was killed June 2, 2018 as he prepped for work at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Southwest Portland. He had worked at the school since 2006.
Crampton Brophy displayed no visible reaction Wednesday inside the crowded Multnomah County courtroom.
Lisa Maxfield, one of Crampton Brophy’s attorneys, said the defense team plans to appeal.
Prosecutors told jurors that Crampton Brophy was motivated by money problems and a life insurance policy.
Crampton Brophy said during the trial, however, that she had no reason to kill her husband and that their financial problems had largely been solved by cashing in a chunk of Brophy’s retirement savings plan.
She owned the same make and model of gun used to kill her husband and was seen on surveillance camera footage driving to and from the culinary institute, court exhibits and court testimony showed.
Police never found the gun that killed Brophy. Prosecutors alleged Crampton Brophy swapped out 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 might have killed Brophy during a robbery gone wrong. Crampton Brophy tested during the trial that her presence near the culinary school on the day of her husband’s death was mere coincidence and that she had parked in the area to work on her writing.
Crampton Brophy’s how-two treatise detailed various options for committing an untraceable killing and professed a desire to avoid getting caught. Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras ultimately excluded the essay from the trial, noting it was published in 2011.
“Any minimal probative value of an article written that long ago is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion of the issues,” Ramras said.
A prosecutor, however, alluded to the essay’s themes without naming it after Crampton Brophy took the stand in her own defense.
Crampton Brophy has remained in custody since her arrest in September 2018, several months after her husband was shot. Her sentencing has been scheduled for June 13.
In an online biography featuring her work, Crampton Brophy writes that she is “married to a chef whose mantra is: life is a science project.”
“As a result there are chickens and turkeys in my backyard, a fabulous vegetable garden which also grows tobacco for an insecticide and a hot meal on the table every night,” she wrote. “For those of you who have longed for this, let me caution you. The old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for, when the gods are truly angry, they grant us our wishes.”
Neighbor Don McConnell told KOIN-TV in 2018 that Brophy didn’t appear to be 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 kept busy preparing to move, McConnell said. “Even after she said, ‘I’m a suspect,'” he said, “I just thought oh, yeah, well, they always suspect the opposite spouse.”