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On the morning he was murdered, Daniel Brophy’s body lay in the kitchen at the Portland, Oregon Culinary Institute where he worked. One of the students who discovered his body on Monday described the chef’s final expression as “completely heartbroken.”
Clarinda Perez, the student, attributed the chef’s green-eyed, mournful look to the last thing he saw before two bullets pierced his spine and heart: his wife, Nancy Crampton Brophy, with a 9mm Glock pistol.
Last month, after a seven-week trial, Crampton Brophy — a 71-year-old romance novelist best known for authoring a 2011 blog post titled How to Murder Your Husband — was found guilty of second-degree murder. On Monday, she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years for the 2018 murder of her then 63-year-old husband.
Four years later, Brophy’s loved ones are still mourning the loss. They described the pain of knowing his grandson will never meet him — all because Brophy was killed by the woman for whom he cooked meals, washed clothes, and raised them in the fold of his family for 27 years.
“You chose to lie, steal, cheat, cheat and ultimately kill the man who, for some reason still unknown to me, was your biggest fan,” Nathaniel Stillwater, Brophy’s son, said in a statement before the verdict was announced became. “You executed my father in one act of cold-blooded, premeditated murder. The man who did everything for you.”
During the course of Crampton Brophy’s trial, which began April 4, prosecutors for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office outlined to the jury how they believed she planned to kill the beloved chef at the Oregon Culinary Institute. They claim that Crampton Brophy bought a ghost gun and tried to collect life insurance policies, reflecting things she wrote about in her suspense romance novels.
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The Brophys marriage appeared idyllic on the outside — the “kind of relationship that made me personally think marriage wasn’t a bad idea,” Susan Estrada, the writer’s niece, testified at the trial. The couple built a quiet life for themselves in the Portland suburbs, where chickens romp in the backyard, hot meals were served every night, and a “fabulous” vegetable garden bloomed, Crampton Brophy wrote on her website.
However, when it came to the couple’s financial situation, cracks began to form, prosecutors said. Money ran out the year before Brophy’s death, when his wife hatched a deadly plan to collect life insurance policies, they say.
The alleged conspiracy involved a kit to build a ghost gun, the kind of untraceable weapon that people can assemble at home. But after Crampton Brophy had trouble assembling it, he reportedly bought a pistol. Prosecutors argued that she had replaced the gun’s slide and barrel with one she ordered from eBay – causing the gun’s cartridge cases to mismatch the gun she owned.
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On June 2, 2018, Crampton Brophy drove to the culinary institute in her minivan just before her husband got into work, security cameras showed. When Brophy got there at about 7:20 a.m., the chef was pouring ice and water into buckets, which he filled next to the commercial sink. He was shot in the process.
Students from the now-defunct culinary institute found his bleeding corpse about an hour later. Perez, the student who made a statement at the Crampton Brophy sentencing, attempted to perform CPR. Others called 911. Another “bravely cleaned out the kitchen so no one would have to see Chef Brophy like that [his wife] left him,” said Perez.
Shortly after her husband’s death, Crampton Brophy attempted to collect $1.4 million in life insurance. That, according to prosecutors, was the motive behind the murder.
Police have never found the gun used to kill Crampton Brophy’s husband. At the trial, prosecutors alleged that Crampton Brophy swapped the gun’s barrel and then discarded it to deter investigators. Her defense team, on the other hand, suggested that someone else might have killed Daniel Brophy — perhaps during a botched robbery.
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Crampton Brophy has maintained her innocence. When she took the stand, Crampton Brophy said she and her husband took out life insurance policies as part of their retirement plans. The guns she bought, she said, were part of her research for her upcoming novel – one about a woman in a toxic relationship who gradually began acquiring gun parts to gain the upper hand over her abusive lover.
But the jury wasn’t convinced – instead, on May 25, after eight hours of deliberation, they unanimously found her guilty.
An upcoming restitution hearing is scheduled for August. Meanwhile, Judge Christopher Ramras said he hoped the sentencing could put an end to loved ones of a man he came to know as “Chef Brophy” during the trial.
“I think what you can take away, which hopefully gives you some comfort, is that he has been a mentor and teacher to many and has impacted many people’s lives and hopefully they will have an impact on others themselves if they change.” they teach,” Ramras said.