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Nancy Crampton-Brophy, who wrote an essay on how to kill a husband, sentenced to life for murder

Crampton-Brophy, 71, was convicted in May of second-degree murder in the June 2018 death of her husband, chef Daniel Brophy, who was shot dead at the culinary school where he was teaching cooking classes .

In court papers, prosecutors said the 63-year-old was shot twice – one in the back as he stood in front of a sink filling buckets of ice and water for students, then in the chest at close range.

The couple were in debt — Crampton-Brophy’s self-published novels weren’t big sellers — and they were insured for more than $1 million, prosecutors argued.

Crampton-Brophy testified she was better off financially with her living husband – and the fact that her van was seen near the school was just a coincidence.

Prosecutors said in court that the author followed her husband to work and shot him with a Glock handgun. Investigators found two 9mm casings at the scene. She had also purchased a “ghost gun” assembly kit that investigators later found in a warehouse. “Ghost guns” are unregistered and untraceable firearms.

Crampton-Brophy purchased a ghost gun and gun kit as part of the search for a new book, she told the jury.

“What I can tell you is that it was for writing,” she said. “It was not, as one might think, to murder my husband.” News of the murder and the resulting criminal charges made headlines everywhere – in part because of an essay Crampton-Brophy wrote seven years before her husband’s death.

In 2011, she published it in a notorious blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband”.
“As a romantic thriller writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, therefore, police procedurals,” the 700-word post began. It was posted on a blog called “See Jane Publish” which has since gone private.

The essay was divided into sections detailing the pros and cons of killing a mean husband.

“If murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend time in jail,” Crampton-Brophy wrote. “And let me state clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange is not my color.”

The trial judge ruled that the essay would not be allowed into evidence because it was written years ago as part of a writing seminar and could unfairly prejudice the jury.

It turns out the jurors didn’t need to read it to reach their verdict.


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