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Nancy Crampton Brophy wrote a guide on 'how to murder your husband'. Then she murdered her husband.

Content warning: This article discusses violence and may be triggering for some readers.

In the early hours of of June 2, 2018, Dan Brophy was at a sink filling buckets of ice at the Oregon Culinary Institute. 

As an instructor at the school, his day was only just beginning.

Before he had even finished topping up his bucket, a shot was fired straight into Dan's back. He fell to the ground and was shot again – except this time, the weapon was aimed directly into his chest. 

The bullets pierced his heart and penetrated his spine.

One of his students discovered his body around 30 minutes after the fatal shooting. Nearby was Dan's wallet filled with cash and credit cards, ruling out to police any signs of robbery or forced entry.

Dan's death rocked his community of Oregonwho had come to know and love the culinary chef

But no one was more distraught than his wife, Nancy Crompton Brophy. 

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"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," she penned in a post to Facebook the day after his death. 


Nancy described him as the type of husband who whipped up lavish dinners for her, tended a vegetable garden and raised turkeys and chickens in their backyard. 

She had been sure he was "Mr. Right" the moment he told her he was making hors d'oeuvres while she took a bath.

Nancy wrote on in a blog post: "Can you imagine spending the rest of your life without a man like that?"

By all accounts, their marriage was picturesque. The couple seemed happy. Which made it all the more disturbing when investigators became suspicious of Nancy's involvement in her husband's murder.

When asked by a detective if she owned any weapons, Nancy allegedly failed to mention a 'ghost gun' kit (a homemade weapon designed to be untraceable), and told them she had been at home all morning.

What detectives would also come to learn is that Nancy penned a blog post seven years before, in 2011, titled 'How to Murder Your Husband'. In it she detailed the pros and cons of a number of methods, detailing that a gun would be too loud, poison may not have its desired effect, and a hit man might not be loyal if caught.

In her work as a romance writer and day job selling life insurance policies, she confessed to thinking about death often.

"I find it is easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them," she penned, according to an archived version of the post. "I don’t want to worry about blood and brains splattered on my walls. And really, I’m not good at remembering lies. But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough."


Image: The Brophy Family supplied to People. She would be arrested just three months later, in September 2018, for carrying out her husband's death. And now – three years on since her arrest – Nancy has been found guilty of murdering her husband. 

Prosecutors painted a picture of the couple being in "financial despair" with little to no way out. 


They alleged she killed Dan in order to claim his $1.5 million life insurance policy, with Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet saying "she executed what she perhaps believed to be the perfect plan".

Nancy's books were not financially profitable, and prosecutors argued she had hatched the plan to kill her husband for a lifestyle that she wanted – one that was greater than the simple life they had created together. 

Shawn Overstreet went on to allege in his opening statements that Nancy began scheming to kill her husband two years prior to the shooting.

"Dan Brophy was content in his simplistic lifestyle, but Nancy Brophy wanted something more," prosecutors said in court documents. "As Nancy Brophy became more financially desperate and her writing career was floundering, she was left with few options.

"Dan Brophy was worth almost $1.5 million to Nancy Brophy if he was dead and he was worth a life of financial hardship if he stayed alive. Nancy Brophy planned and carried out what she believed was the perfect murder. 

"A murder that she believed would free her from the grips of financial despair."

Nancy Crampton Brophy. Image: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.  They claimed she bought supplies to make a 'ghost gun', however, she was unable to build it. So instead, the prosecutor says, she bought a 9mm Glock pistol while her husband was working and practiced firing at a shooting range. 


There were no surveillance cameras at the culinary institute where Dan was shot, but Nancy was allegedly seen on video surveillance driving a minivan around the area between 6:39am and 7:28am on the day of the killing. The exact time she claimed to be at home.

Dan arrived at the institute at 7.20am.

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Nancy's lawyers claimed she was incapable of murdering her husband, arguing the couple's finances were improving in the months before Dan's death. 


In explaining why she had taken out the life insurance policies on her husband, the lawyers argued Nancy had bought policies to earn a commission, as she was a salesperson for an insurance company.

As for the gun-supply purchases? They argued it was for research Nancy was doing for a new book she planned to write. Her lawyers insist that Dan had known about the weapon.

"Nancy Crampton Brophy has always been thoroughly, madly, crazy in love with Daniel Brophy, and she still is today," Maxfield told the jury, according to The Washington Post.

On May 25, a jury found Nancy Crampton Brophy guilty of second-degree murder after deliberating for two days.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit for further information.

The Men’s Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at

Feature Image: AAP.

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