'How to Murder Your Husband' Writer Sentenced to Life

Nancy Crampton Brophy found guilty of killing her husband
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2022 12:42 AM CDT
Updated Jun 13, 2022 6:20 PM CDT
Jury: 'How to Murder Your Husband' Writer Murdered Husband
Romance writer Nancy Crampton Brophy, left, accused of killing her husband, Dan Brophy, in June 2018, watches proceedings in court in Portland, Ore., Monday, April 4, 2022.   (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, Pool, File Photo)

Update: Nancy Crampton Brophy, self-published author of romance novels including The Wrong Husband and The Wrong Lover—as well as an essay titled "How to Murder Your Husband"—has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering her husband. The 71-year-old Oregon resident, who was found guilty last month of the 2018 slaying of chef Dan Brophy, will not be eligible for parole for 25 years, the BBC reports. Nathaniel Stillwater, Brophy's son from a previous marriage, was among the relatives who spoke at Monday's sentencing hearing. "You opted to lie, cheat, steal, defraud, and ultimately kill the man that was your biggest fan," he said. "You were—to borrow from your catalogue—the wrong wife." Our original story from May 25 follows:

The romance novelist who infamously wrote an essay titled "How to Murder Your Husband" was on Wednesday convicted of murdering her husband. Prosecutors say Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, spent months collecting a ghost gun kit, a gun, and various gun pieces that could have been swapped out on the gun, including a piece to make sure bullets were not traced back to the gun, before shooting Daniel Brophy in his workplace where there were no cameras or witnesses. She then tried to collect on life insurance policies, the New York Times reports. The essay, written in 2011, had included tips about making sure such a murder was not traceable. Defense attorneys said that while acquiring the gun pieces, Brophy had been considering a story about a woman who built a gun to deal with her abusive partner. Brophy, too, said she bought the gun parts for research.

Even so, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder in her husband's 2018 slaying after two days of deliberations, the AP reports. She will be sentenced June 13, and her defense team plans to appeal, KOIN-TV reports. The couple had been together 25 years when Daniel Brophy was killed. Under questioning, Brophy was asked whether she believed, as she's said in some of her writings, that "anyone is capable" of murder. She said "absolutely," if they're backed into a corner—including for financial issues, which prosecutors say were the motivation to kill. But Brophy insisted throughout the trial the couple's financial struggles were under control. "An editor would laugh and say, ‘I think you need to work harder on this story. You have kind of a big hole in it,'" she said. (More Nancy Crampton Brophy stories.)

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