In 2011, a Portland romance author named Nancy Crampton-Brophy published a WordPress article titled, “How to Murder Your Husband,” on a blog called See Jane Publish, which has since been made private. However, The Oregonian accessed it before it was restricted and reported that it was a 700-word post split into different sections which listed the pros and cons of killing one’s husband.
“As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure,” the article began. “Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?” read another section. She seemed to be quite fixated on the subject, obsessed even.
Then there’s the “About” section on her website, which reads: “Writers are liars. I don’t remember who said that but it’s not true. In writing fiction, you dig deep and unearth portions of your own life that you’ve long forgotten or had purposely buried deep. Granted, sometimes it is smarter to change the ending.” Another part of the “How To” post says, “After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail.”
Then, in June of this year, Crampton-Brophy’s husband, 63-year-old Daniel Brophy, was discovered riddled with bullets at the Oregon Culinary Institute where he was employed. Last month, the 68-year-old Nancy was arrested in connection with his death, and subsequently charged with murder and the unlawful use of a weapon. “Based on information learned during the investigation, detectives believe Nancy L. Crampton-Brophy is the suspect in Daniel C. Brophy’s murder,” read a release from the Portland Police Bureau.
Daniel Brophy was beloved by the Oregon Culinary Institute, and hundreds came to mourn him at a candlelit vigil held at the school on June 4. Nancy was in attendance and seemed full of grief. But as time went on, her neighbors noted that something didn’t quite seem right with her. Her neighbor Dan McConnell spoke to the Oregonian, saying that earlier in the summer he’d talked with Nancy about her husband’s death, wondering why someone would want to kill the man. “I said, are [the police] keeping in touch with you?” McConnell remembered asking her. “She said, ‘No, I’m a suspect.’ I thought she must have been one tough woman to handle that the way she did.”
Online reactions to the news made light of the obvious irony.
She wants to be free and not spend time in jail, she writes. Then she guns him down in a public place. Good thinking, Genius 🤔— Kathy Harrington (@kathyhrn0662) September 12, 2018
Note to self: never write or do anything creative, ever, or it will be used against me.— Deaf Nell (@klaxun) September 12, 2018
According to the Washington Post, when Nancy was brought before a judge to hear her charges, the judge executed an unusual maneuver by sealing a probable cause affidavit right in front of her, at the prosecutor’s request. However, it’s unclear what exactly was in the envelope; police have declined to answer questions from the press about the evidence proving her as the murderer or what led police to suspect her, citing an ongoing investigation.
In the original “How to Murder Your Husband” essay, she talked about how she’d often thought about killing someone but didn’t have the guts to follow through with such a violent act, saying that she wouldn’t want to “worry about blood and brains splattered on my walls,” or “remembering lies.” Another line of note: “I find it easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them. But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”
What do you think about this case? Is there any chance she’s not guilty? If she did it, what do you think her motives were? Let us know in the comments down below!