A jury in the US city of Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist who wrote an essay titled How to Murder Your Husband of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
The jury of seven women and five men found Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71, guilty of second-degree murder on Wednesday after deliberating for two days over Daniel Brophy’s death, according to reports.
Brophy, a 63-year-old chef, was killed on 2 June 2018 as he prepared for work at the Oregon Culinary Institute in south-west Portland.
Crampton Brophy showed no visible reaction to the verdict in the crowded Multnomah county courtroom. Lisa Maxfield, one of Crampton Brophy’s attorneys, said the defence team would appeal against the decision.
Prosecutors told jurors Crampton Brophy was motivated by money problems and a life insurance policy.
However, Crampton Brophy said she had no reason to kill her husband and their financial problems had largely been solved by cashing in a portion of Brophy’s retirement savings plan.
She owned the same make and model of gun used to kill her husband and was seen on surveillance footage driving to and from the culinary institute, court exhibits and testimony showed. Police have never found the gun that killed Brophy.
Prosecutors alleged Crampton Brophy swapped the barrel of the gun used in the shooting and then discarded it.
Defence attorneys said the gun parts were the inspiration for Crampton Brophy’s writing and suggested someone else might have killed Brophy during a botched robbery.
Crampton Brophy testified that her presence near the culinary school on the day of her husband’s death was mere coincidence and that she had parked in the area to work on her writing.
Crampton Brophy’s how-to treatise detailed various options for committing an untraceable killing and professed a desire to avoid getting caught.
The circuit judge Christopher Ramras excluded the essay from the trial, noting it was published in 2011. A prosecutor, however, alluded to the essay’s themes without naming it after Crampton Brophy took the stand.
Crampton Brophy has been in custody since her arrest in September 2018. She will be sentenced on 13 June.