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Romance Novelist Stood To Gain More Than $1 Million In Husband's Alleged Murder, Prosecutors Say

Nancy Crampton-Brophy, a 69-year-old romance novelist accused in the fatal 2018 shooting of her husband Dan Brophy, was allegedly entitled to $1.5 million in insurance policies and home equity should her spouse prematurely die. 

By Dorian Geiger

An Oregon romance novelist accused in the murder of her culinary instructor husband stood to gain more than $1 million in the event of his demise, new court documents show. 

Nancy Crampton-Brophy allegedly could have cashed in on $1.5 million in life insurance policies and home equity following her husband's 2018 death, according to newly released court documents

“Nancy Brophy stood to collect almost $1.5 million dollars upon Dan Brophy’s death,” prosecutors wrote.

Crampton-Brophy, who also sold life insurance, was the sole beneficiary of her husband’s life insurance policies, which prosecutors said “she sold herself.” The romance writer, whose literary career was supposedly in decline, resented her meager life, and desired to sell the couple’s home and galavant the globe, according to prosecutors.

“Dan Brophy was content in his simplistic lifestyle, but Nancy Brophy wanted something more,” prosecutors stated. “As Nancy Brophy became more financially desperate and her writing career was floundering, she was left with few options. … The bottom line is Dan Brophy was worth almost $1.5 million dollars to Nancy Brophy if he was dead and he was worth a life of financial hardship if he stayed alive.”

Nancy Crampton Brophy

The documents were compiled by prosecutors ahead of Crampton-Brophy’s bail hearing this week, according to the Oregonian.

In March, her lawyers attempted to secure her release on the basis of COVID-19 concerns, Portland television station KGW reported. Her lawyers argued the 69-year-old was at “at risk of imminent death in jail.” They proposed a transfer to “home detention with GPS monitoring and round-the-clock curfew,” however she was ultimately denied bail on Wednesday. 

Her husband, Daniel Brophy, a Portland chef, was gunned down in June 2018 at the culinary institute where he worked, according to the court records. He was shot in the spine and heart. Authorities found Brophy unresponsive, surrounded by bullet casings, lying on his back in a kitchen at the school. There was no apparent signs of a struggle, investigators said.  

Detectives later found an article entitled, “10 Ways to Cover Up a Murder,” on the couple’s computer, according to authorities.

The day after her husband’s killing, the woman posted a seemingly heartfelt message on social media announcing his death. 

“My husband and best friend, Chef Dan Brophy was killed yesterday morning,” she wrote. “For those of you who are close to me and feel this deserved a phone call, you are right, but I’m struggling to make sense of everything right now.”

For my facebook friends and family, I have sad news to relate. My husband and best friend, Chef Dan Brophy was killed...

Posted by Nancy Brophy on Sunday, June 3, 2018

However, Crampton-Brophy was later jailed in Multnomah County, accused of carrying out her spouse’s fatal shooting. 

Daniel Brophy was a chef at the Oregon Culinary Institute. The culinary school previously described him as a green-thumbed mushroom expert, marine biologist, and an “encyclopedia of knowledge” in a now-removed biography. 

Crampton-Brophy’s steamy romance thrillers are still available on Amazon. However, none of her books achieved “financial success,” court documents show. She once penned an article entitled, “How to Murder Your Husband,” and alluded to the possible material hardship a divorce could pose, prosecutors said.

“Divorce is expensive, do you really want to split your possessions?” the Oregon romance novelist wrote, according to investigators.