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'How To Murder Your Husband' Novelist Gets Life In Prison For Husband's 2018 Murder

Nancy Crampton Brophy, a romance novelist who wrote an essay in 2011 titled “How To Murder Your Husband,” has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murdering her husband, Daniel Brophy, in 2018.

By Jax Miller
Nancy Crampton Brophy is seen in court

The self-published author who once penned an essay titled “How To Murder Your Husband” will spend the rest of her life behind bars for her husband’s murder.

Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, was sentenced on Monday to life in prison for the 2018 murder of Daniel Brophy, 63, according to  NBC Portland affiliate KGW-TV. Crampton Brophy — who was found guilty of second-degree murder in May following a seven-week trial — will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of her sentence.

Prosecutors accused Crampton Brophy of killing her husband on June 2, 2018, at the now-closed Oregon Culinary Institute where he was head chef. Crampton Brophy allegedly saw Daniel Brophy’s death as a means of solving their financial stress.

The defendant reportedly stood to gain from Daniel Brophy’s life insurance policy and had even cashed in on $35,000 from the victim’s 401k retirement account months earlier, said prosecutors.

Several of the victim’s relatives — including his son, Nathaniel Stillwater — were at Monday’s hearing and read from victim impact statements before Crampton Brophy was sentenced, according to CBS News.

“You are a monster, and I’m ashamed that I have to admit to my children that people like you walk among us undetected,” Stillwater stated. “You lived in the shadow of a great human being.”

Crampton Brophy declined to make a statement at the downtown Portland courthouse, according to Oregon Live.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet also read an impact statement on behalf of the victim’s mother, Karen Brophy, according to KGW-TV.

“We will never understand how you can decide that it was an advantage for you to take the life of our son; that he did not deserve to live,” the mother wrote. “You will never know our beautiful, great-grandchildren, Dan’s grandchildren. These children deserve to know and love him as we all have.”

Crampton Brophy denied killing her husband, telling investigators she was home writing on the morning of her husband’s death. She was later confronted by investigators who had surveillance footage that captured her minivan near the culinary institute at the time of the murder.

That morning, Daniel Brophy was found dead by his students. One of them, according to KGW-TV, also made a statement at Monday’s hearing.

“Chef Brophy will continue to live on,” said the former student. “He will continue to live on in all the hearts of those that knew and loved him, and his memory will never die.”

The murder trial had seen delay after delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Christopher A. Ramras touched on this when he said he couldn’t imagine what it was like for loved ones to “go through years of waiting to find resolution,” according to Oregon Live.

One of Daniel Brophy’s former colleagues, Melanie Hammerickson, called it “a long four years.”

“You executed my father in [an] act of cold-blooded, premeditated murder,” said Nathaniel Stillwater, according to Oregon Live. “The man that did everything for you: cooked your meals, washed your clothes, accepted your sedentary nature, supported your failed endeavors, and brought you into the warm embrace of our family.”

Although Crampton Brophy’s 2011 essay “How To Murder Your Husband” was not allowed to be introduced in the murder trial, the defendant’s writings garnered widespread media attention following the author’s September 2018 arrest. The romance novelist also penned a series titled “The Wrong Husband.”

Crampton Brophy revealed no apparent motion during sentencing, according to Oregon Live. She will be 97 years old by the time she is eligible for parole.

A restitution hearing has been scheduled for August, according to KGW-TV.