Nancy Brophy wrote an essay called “How to Murder Your Husband”. A murder trial followed

On the first day of the author’s trial, it was decided that the jury would ignore the essay she had written years earlier, titled ‘How to Murder Your Husband’.

Nancy Brophy wrote the article in 2011. It was guest-published on a writer’s blog. “As a writer of romantic suspense, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, therefore, police procedurals,” Brophy wrote. “After all, if murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend time in jail. And let me just say for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange is not my color.

Seven years after the essay was published, Brophy’s husband died. Daniel Brophy, a chef, was found dead June 2, 2018 inside the Oregon Culinary Institute, where he taught. He had been shot twice. Nancy Brophy was arrested three months later and charged with her murder. His trial began Monday (April 4) in Portland.

The prosecution alleged that she was motivated by the prospect of monetary gain and was to collect $1.4 million after her husband’s death. The defense argued that Brophy and his finances both deteriorated after the death, that the couple were in love, and that the prosecution’s case is circumstantial.

According to the photo of the couple painted by Assistant District Attorney Shawn Overstreet on the first day of the trial, the Brophys met in the 1990s while Nancy was studying at the Oregon Culinary Institute. The couple married in 1999 and bought a house in a suburb of Portland, where they lived until Daniel Brophy’s death in 2018. Daniel had a child from a previous marriage; he and Nancy had no children together. Nancy worked as a caterer and sold insurance products, including life insurance, Assistant District Attorney Shawn Overstreet told the court Monday. She has also written and self-published several romance novels, which she described online as involving “tough men, strong women, and a good story.”

On her personal website, Nancy Brophy recounted the moment she knew she wanted to marry Daniel: “I was in the mood. It was a big tub. I expected him to join me and when he was delayed I shouted, ‘Are you coming?’ Daniel’s response – “Yes, but I cook hors d’oeuvres” – convinced her that he was “Monsieur Droit”.

“Like all marriages, we’ve had ups and downs, more good times than bad,” she continued. “More recently, we spent 14 months biting our nails living in an apartment while our house was being rebuilt following a fire. In doing so, I gained in-depth knowledge of kitchen cabinets, bathroom plumbing, and leaky roofs. If this writing story doesn’t work out, I plan to investigate to become a contractor specializing in one-time, under-budget renovations. Believe me, there is a fortune to be made by the builder who can deliver on their promises.

The “How to Murder Your Husband” blog post was an early subject of Nancy Brophy’s trial. In it, Brophy listed five potential “motives” that could lead someone to kill their spouse. The first reads “financial (that’s big)”.

“Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to divide your property? Or if you marry for money, aren’t you entitled to all that? Brophy wrote. ” Hindsight [sic] is that the police are not stupid. They look at you first. So you have to be organized, ruthless and very clever. Husbands have already disappeared from cruise ships. Why not yours?

The last of the five ‘reasons’, ‘it’s your job’, reads: ‘Now we’re talking. You already have both skills and knowledge. You have the moral ambiguity to prevail. Quick hit and you fade from the scene. Get your payment upfront from someone else, because life insurance probably won’t send a check.

Defense attorney Lisa Maxfield delivers her opening plea at her client Nancy Brophy’s on April 4, 2022 in Portland, Oregon

(YouTube News/KGW)

Assistant District Attorney Shawn Overstreet delivers his opening plea at Nancy Brophy’s trial on April 4, 2022

(YouTube News/KGW)

At the opening of the proceedings, Judge Christopher Ramras granted a defense motion to exclude the blog post from evidence. “Any minimal probative value of an article written so long ago is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion of issues,” the judge told the court.

The first moments of Brophy’s trial so far have focused on love and money. Money, because the prosecution claimed that was Brophy’s motive in the alleged murder. The Brophys’ financial situation began to change in 2016, Overstreet told the court Monday, when they struggled to pay their mortgage, drained their only retirement account and took out a loan on a life insurance policy. By then, the district attorney claimed, the couple were spending more than $1,000 a month on life insurance premiums and were caught in an “overspending pattern” that meant they would soon find themselves in financial desperation. Overstreet alleged that Nancy Brophy began researching and planning her husband’s murder in 2017 amid additional financial difficulties.

Defense attorney Lisa Maxfield contradicted the prosecution’s account, arguing in part that one of the life insurance policies the couple took out provided that all premiums would be refunded if Daniel Brophy reached death. age of 78 – and therefore his longevity would have been more profitable. to the pair. (Daniel Brophy was 63 at the time of his death.)

Maxfield argued that the couple’s life insurance policies were the result of financial planning decisions, especially as they got older. (Life insurance premiums increase as policyholders age.) She told the court that the sudden death of Daniel Brophy upended some of the couple’s financial plans. Seeking to poke holes in the prosecution’s idea that Nancy Brophy killed her husband to collect life insurance policies, Maxfield told the court: ‘Murder can be a huge insurance complication. -life. At best, a murder will seriously delay the payment of insurance proceeds. She argued that in June 2018, around the time of Daniel’s death, the Brophys were “in pretty good financial shape.”

And then there was love. In his opening argument, Maxfield described the Brophys as a close couple and Nancy Brophy as a devoted wife. “During this trial, the state will present a circumstantial case that begs you to turn a blind eye to the grandest of circumstances,” she said. “What is it? Well, it’s love. She described Nancy Brophy as being ‘grieved’ and ‘in total shock’ following the death of her husband.

Judge Christopher Ramras during Nancy Brophy’s trial on April 4, 2022 in Portland, Oregon

(YouTube News/KGW)

The prosecution relied on surveillance footage they say shows a van driven by Nancy Brophy in the area of ​​the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018. One that was later found by the investigators when they searched a storage unit she was renting. It doesn’t appear that Brophy ever built it, Overstreet said, because she didn’t have the skills to do so. Brophy, according to the prosecutor, eventually purchased a gun at a gun show and a slide and barrel on eBay. The slide and barrel purchased on eBay is “the only firearm or part of a firearm that law enforcement has not uncovered in this investigation.”

Maxfield argued that Brophy made a number of purchases as part of his research work as a writer. “To support her writing, Ms. Brophy spent a lot of money on night vision goggles, a telescope, law enforcement-grade handcuffs, high-powered binoculars, art supplies, door handles antique glass doors and lots and lots of locks,” she said. The defense attorney said she would call as witnesses at least two other writers, one of whom purchased “a giant crossbow” in support of her writing, while the other, identified as Delilah, has bought a chastity belt for similar purposes.

“Delilah will assure you it was not for use with her husband,” Maxfield said. “Instead, she wanted to know how the hinges felt. She wanted to know what it looked like when the key was inserted. She wanted to feel how heavy it was.

Nancy Brophy’s trial is expected to last seven weeks. If convicted, Brophy could be sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years.

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