‘How to Murder Your Husband’ Screenwriter Nancy Brophy Was the ‘Only Person’ Who Could Have Killed Her Husband, Says DA

It was a good plan.

Buy a gun, but also buy a replacement slide and barrel for that gun, so that before she kills her husband, she can swap the parts with an untraceable set bought on eBay. Learn to load it, pull it. Waiting for a morning when she knew he would go to work early, before someone else was at the Oregon Culinary Institute, where no cameras could capture the crime. Leave his phone at home. Monitor the scene, to be sure he has arrived in the building. Wait until he’s finished loading and unloading, when she knows he’ll be at the back of the school building, concentrating on preparing for a cooking exercise. Shoot him once in the back, then again in the chest, finishing him off. Go home, before anyone spots her. Wander around the yard, frantic, making sure the neighbors have seen her at home, “looking for the dogs.” Jump on the computer and write a little. Fool around when a friend calls to report police activity at school. Go back down to the crime scene, as if it was the first time she left the house that morning, answer the detectives’ questions and go home.

It’s Oregon State’s theory of how Oregon romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy crafted a plot straight out of a thriller, but which prosecutors accuse of having performed herself, in real life. Brophy, Assistant District Attorney Shawn Overstreet argued, wanted to be free from her boss husband and how their simple life and struggle to make ends meet kept her from retiring comfortably to a faraway place – Portugal , maybe – who killed Dan Brophy and raise more than $1 million in life insurance policies would help. This would-be writer who had published an essay called ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ seven years earlier had gone and done just that, he told jurors, but did not mention the essay itself, which went on trial inadmissible, too prejudicial. If Overstreet is right, Brophy answered in real life the rhetorical question she posed in this essay: “Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split all your assets?”

But, she warned, “the police are not stupid. They look at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very smart.

Nancy Brophy wasn’t smart enough, Overstreet argued in closing arguments Monday, the 26th day of her murder trial. Little did she realize that while driving her van to and from the crime scene that morning, she would be captured by a series of cameras scattered across Portland. She told detectives she had been home all morning when those cameras showed that was not the case. She should explain why a long-time gun hater would amass a volume of Internet search history that shows her searches for “ghost guns” and “gun kits”, how to assemble and disassemble guns, fire, and which types of weapons had the worst backfire.

It was the search for a story, she testified. Well, part of it was finding a story. The gun she bought at a gun show in December 2016 was for protection. She forgot she had driven downtown the morning of the shooting, she offered. Must be some kind of memory issue. Perhaps the trauma of learning that her husband had been killed.

Nancy Brophy and her attorneys offered a range of explanations throughout the month-long trial for her behavior, both for the day of Dan Brophy’s murder in June 2017 and the months leading up to it, a source explains. pile of circumstantial evidence that the state says leaves no reasonable doubt about who killed the 62-year-old leader.

“She felt the need to stand up and explain all these issues to you. The state set up a case, it looks really bad for her,” Overstreet said. “So she sat there intent on manipulating all of you into believing her lies. She’s manipulating every person in that room, just like she has all her friends, just like she has her family.

For the defense, the story of Nancy Brophy had all its meaning, especially when we remember that it is about a woman whose love for her husband has never been denied, at least not that anyone have seen. The couple’s finances had gotten a little tough, but they were bouncing back. Insurance policies were just smart planning. The blackouts on the day of the murder were understandable, backed up by neuroscience, even. A trauma like learning that your husband was murdered is enough to wipe out the mind for a few hours.

The state has failed to meet its heavy burden of proof, argued Brophy’s attorney, Kristin Winemiller. Prosecutors made statements at the start of the trial that unraveled as the case progressed. They exaggerated the amount of insurance payout Brophy could receive if her husband died. They introduced a surprise witness, a convicted embezzler who allegedly told detectives that Brophy told her she was ‘so far away’ when the leader was shot, only for this witness to powerfully back down when she finally caught on. bar. Detectives did not sufficiently investigate the other possibilities, Winemiller said, having failed to thoroughly examine the suspicious figures discovered prowling around the culinary school on the morning of the murder. They didn’t even examine the crime scene enough; maybe the booze was missing, and maybe that’s why Dan Brophy was killed that morning.

“Dan and Nancy’s love story was told throughout the trial,” Winemiller said. “Nancy Brophy loved her husband. She loved this man. You could see it in his eyes every time she spoke about him. Her eyes lit up. They absolutely twinkled when she could finally be in a courtroom to speak. of him. They twinkled. You heard a love story in that courtroom. They loved each other, until their very last day together. They were looking forward, so looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together.

Much of what Winemiller presented to the jury on Monday went beyond much of the prosecutor’s closing argument, which was essentially this: Nancy Brophy was the only person who had the means, the opportunity and the weapon to commit this crime. While Overstreet addressed possible motive, because “motive is something we want as humans,” he insisted that motive is not a necessary part of the verdict, in this case. What matters, Overstreet said, is what we know about the morning of June 2 and the events leading up to the murder of Dan Brophy.

“Dan was executed on June 2. It was clearly no accident. There was no struggle. There was no theft. There was no interrupted burglary. Whoever walked into the culinary institute in that short six-minute window went there to kill Dan,” Overstreet said. “There is no other way to see this. This happened at the exact same time Nancy Brophy was at culinary institute and using the exact same gun and caliber that Nancy Brophy had. It’s too much of a coincidence. There are too many coincidences. She knew all about Dan’s routine. She knew everything about this school, right down to the fact that they wouldn’t have cameras. She had the plan in place. She had the opportunity to commit this murder. She is also the only person who had motive.

Tuesday morning, after Overstreet rebuts the defense’s conclusion, the case goes to the jury.

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