A jury in the US city of Portland has convicted a self-published novelist who wrote an essay titled How to Murder Your Husband of fatally shooting her husband.
The 12-person jury on Wednesday found Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, guilty of second-degree murder after deliberating for two days over the death of Daniel Brophy, according to reports.
Brophy, a 63-year-old chef, was killed June 2, 2018 while preparing to work at the Oregon Culinary Institute in southwest Portland.
Crampton Brophy showed no visible reaction to the verdict in the crowded Multnomah County courtroom. Lisa Maxfield, one of his attorneys, said the defense team would appeal the decision.
The defendant’s 2011 treatise detailed various options for committing untraceable murder, written as a brainstorming exercise for writers.
Its opening reads, “As a romantic thriller writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, therefore, police procedurals. After all, if murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend time in jail. And let me just say for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange is not my color.
The blog post went on to detail the motivations – financial, “lying, cheating bastard”, abuser – and a discussion of possible methods. The knives were “personal and close together”. Blood everywhere”, while the poison, “considered a weapon of a woman”, was too easy to find, wrote Crampton Brophy. The guns were “noisy, messy, required some skill”.
Circuit Judge Christopher Ramras had excluded the essay from the lawsuit, noting that it had been published several years ago. The jurors were not allowed to take this into account in their judgment. A prosecutor, however, alluded to the essay’s themes without naming him after Crampton Brophy spoke.
Prosecutors told jurors that Crampton Brophy was motivated by money issues and a life insurance policy.
However, Crampton Brophy said she had no reason to kill her husband, and their financial troubles were largely solved by cashing in part of Brophy’s retirement savings plan.
She had the same make and model of firearm used to kill her husband and was seen in surveillance footage driving to and from the culinary institute, exhibits and testimony were shown.
Prosecutors alleged Crampton Brophy purchased a “ghost gun,” an untraceable firearm kit, and swapped parts with a store-bought handgun.
The police never found the gun that killed Brophy.
Defense attorneys said the gun parts inspired Crampton Brophy’s idea for a new book and suggested someone else may have killed Brophy in a failed robbery.
Crampton Brophy testified that her presence near the culinary school on the day of her husband’s death was just a coincidence and that she had parked in the area to work on her writing.
Crampton Brophy has been in custody since her arrest in September 2018. She will be sentenced on June 13.
“I find it easier to wish people dead than to kill them,” Crampton Brophy wrote in his 2011 article. “I don’t want to worry about blood and brains splattering on my walls. And really, I’m not good at remembering lies. But what I do know about murder is that each of us has it in us when pushed far enough.
The Associated Press contributed to this report