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The romance novelist on trial for allegedly shooting her husband to death allegedly confessed the murder to her cellmate, prosecutors say.
Nancy Crampton-Brophy, 71, stands accused of shooting Daniel Brophy, 63, at the Oregon Culinary Institute, where he worked as a head chef back in 2018, as previously reported. She's pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and unlawful use of a weapon, according to NBC Portland affiliate KGW News.
More than a month after the start of Crampton-Brophy's murder trial, Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet says the defendant described the shooting to fellow cellmate Andrea Jacobs, as reported by Oregon Live.
Overstreet claimed Campton-Brophy’s confession was a slip of the tongue, recounting the alleged admission for the court on Tuesday.
“Ms. Brophy held her arms apart, like a wingspan, and said, ‘I was this far away when the shooting happened,’” said Overstreet.
“She then corrected herself,” he continued, alleging that the defendant adjusted her narrative to explain that her husband was killed at close range.
Prosecutors learned about the alleged confession after the defendant received a "long, partially illegible letter" referencing the cellmate in March, according to Oregon Live, and tracked Jacobs down sometime in April.
Jacobs, who is currently housed in a federal prison camp in Texas, alleged that Crampton-Brophy displayed regret about going into detail about the shooting.
“Ms. Jacobs reported that it became very awkward,” Overstreet said in court.
Jacobs allegedly voiced concerns to her lawyers that she’d be viewed as a “snitch” if she were to come forward, according to Oregon Live.
It’s unclear whether or not Jacobs will be required to take the stand as a rebuttal witness. As reported by CBS Portland affiliate KOIN, the prosecution had already rested their case on April 21 — something the defense was keen to point out on Tuesday.
Circuit Court Judge Christopher Ramras asked attorneys to have their written arguments submitted by May 11 as part of his eventual determination about whether Jacobs could testify after the defense rests, according to Oregon Live.
Crompton-Brophy’s defense attorney, Kristen Winemiller, argued that Jacobs testifying would further delay the trial — which had already seen delay after delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic (including the defendant and several jurors contracting the virus). The trial had been expected to conclude on May 20, according to Oregon Live.
“To respond to this would require a significant investigation,” said Winemiller. “It’s just simply too late after they’ve rested to bring in another witness of this magnitude.”
Winemiller also argued that Jacobs was at the center of an active investigation involving Medicaid fraud in Multnomah County, though prosecutors said they were unaware of that.
Through the course of the murder trial, prosecutors said Crampton-Brophy — who once penned an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband” — stood to gain $1.5 million in the event of Daniel Brophy’s death from a life insurance policy.
Crampton-Brophy sold life insurance — including her husband’s policy — according to prosecutors, who allege that she did so because her writing career was in decline.
The author's award-winning stories came under scrutiny after Daniel Brophy’s murder, including several novels in the romance genre and a series titled “The Wrong Husband.”
“My stories are about pretty men and strong women, about families that don’t always work, and about the joy of finding love and the difficulty of making it stay,” per the author’s website.
Crampton-Brophy has been in the Multnomah County Inverness Jail since her arrest in September 2018.
Trial is expected to resume on Monday, according to ABC Portland affiliate KATU.
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