PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The jury learned more about Daniel Brophy’s fatal gunshot wounds, how word of his death spread and what the crime scene was like for responding officers during the third day of Nancy Crampton Brophy’s trial for the murder of her husband.
On Wednesday morning, a coworker of Daniel Brophy’s took the stand and spoke about how she’d known the Brophys for years and how she notified Nancy about an incident at the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018, the day of Daniel’s death.
She was followed up by Daniel’s mother, Karen Brophy, who described how she learned of her son’s death. A Portland Police Bureau officer spoke after her.
In the afternoon, a deputy medical examiner from the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office spoke about what he saw at the crime scene and the injuries to Daniel’s body.
A deputy state medical examiner then provided more information about her observations of his body during an autopsy and the lead detective explained what he arrived to find at the scene.
Here are six takeaways from the third day of the trial:
1. Acquaintance calls Nancy about police activity at OCI
Maxine Borcherding worked with Daniel at the Oregon Culinary Institute at the time of his death and had known Nancy for many years as well. On June 2, 2018, Borcherding received a call from someone she knew who was in the area of OCI. That person said there were police and crime scene tape around the building and the person had heard someone had been shot.
Borcherding, who knew Daniel was working that day, tried calling him and left him a voicemail message. When she couldn’t reach Daniel, she called Nancy and told her what she’d heard, including that someone had been shot. Nancy said she hadn’t heard anything from Daniel, but would try calling him. When she couldn’t reach him, Maxine said Nancy told her she would go down there to see what was going on.
2. Daniel could be harsh on his students
Borcherding said she had taught with Daniel for many years, both at the Oregon Culinary Institute and the former culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. She said he taught with a dry sense of humor and sarcasm and that sometimes he could embarrass or dismiss students.
“Dan was an incredibly knowledgeable instructor in many, many areas. If he thought a student worthy of his time and attention, he was the best instructor and mentor that a student could ask for. But if for whatever reason, he was not happy with the students, he could be pretty harsh,” she said.
3. Daniel’s mother learns of his death
Karen Brophy, Daniel’s mother, testified as a witness Wednesday. She said after Nancy heard of what was going on at OCI, she called Karen to inform her. She said Nancy told her she wasn’t going down because of all the police cars and other cars that would be in the area.
“She sounded like Nancy, calm,” Karen said, describing the phone call. “It didn’t sound like she was panicking.”
After speaking to her husband, Karen said she called Nancy back and told her she thought Nancy should go to the school to see what was going on and to let Karen know if she heard anything.
Karen said she called Nancy again a while later after she hadn’t heard anything. During that third call, Nancy told Karen she was in the car speaking to police and that “It was Dan.” She said Nancy started crying after she shared the news that he had died. Karen said she was devastated after hearing about her son’s death and doesn’t remember any more of the conversation.
4. Officers arrive at the scene
Officer Cassandra Wells was one of the first Portland Police Officers to arrive at the crime scene on June 2, 2018. She said the call was a “code 3,” meaning police had to respond immediately with lights and sirens to the Oregon Culinary Institute. A dispatcher told officers there were suspicious circumstances with a shooting victim.
At the scene, a paramedic told her there was a victim who had been shot twice and that there were a bunch of students sitting in the break room with their hands on the tables.
Wells said she and other officers were trying to figure out who the shooter was. They escorted the students across the street to a school administrative building to interview them. The students left all their belongings in the OCI main building.
When Nancy Brophy arrived at the scene, Wells stood with her after she learned her husband was dead. She said Nancy started crying immediately and Wells gave her a hug.
She continued to stand with Nancy until detectives relieved her.
5. Details on the gunshot wounds
Daniel Brophy was shot twice, once through the chest and once through the back. At the trial Wednesday, the prosecution called Multnomah County Deputy Medical Examiner Damon O’Brian and State Deputy Medical Examiner Michelle Taylor Stauffenberg to the stand to talk about the wounds they observed.
O’Brian responded to the crime scene and said he noticed defects in Daniel’s shirt that corresponded with the bullet wounds he had. On Daniel’s back, there was an entrance wound and an incomplete exit wound, where the bullet did not come completely out of the skin. On his chest, there was an entrance wound to the center of his chest and a partial exit wound to the left of his chest.
In her autopsy, Taylor Stauffenberg confirmed these two facts. She said the bullet that entered through his back went through the spinal column, spinal cord, through the aorta and then through the heart. The bullet that entered through his chest also went through his heart and then went down and to the left.
She said both injuries would have been fatal. He would have bled out from either of them. She said she could not determine what shot was fired first.
6. “Nothing was out of the ordinary”
Detective Anthony Merrill from the Portland Police Bureau said he took on the role of lead detective on the Brophy case. He remembers being asked to go to the Oregon Culinary Institute for a homicide investigation and thought it was unusual because it was in the daytime. He arrived on the scene around 9:35 a.m. He said he and the other detectives at the scene were overseeing the information that was being gathered.
He said all students at the school that day and students who didn’t show up to class that day were interviewed.
Merrill said detectives checked the building for surveillance video but found none. They were also disappointed to find limited surveillance video from businesses and buildings surrounding OCI. He searched the building early in the day, checking for anything that might indicate a motive in the murder. He checked to see if any items were stolen and asked school administrators to do the same. They didn’t notice anything missing.
He also looked for any signs of a forced entry into the building, but all the doors appeared normal and undamaged.
“Everything just looked symmetrically placed like it was, not out, nothing was out of the ordinary,” he said.
He did a second check of the building later in the day and again didn’t notice anything out of place. He even said he checked the rooftop. He said he found the keys to Daniel’s pickup truck next to a cup of what appeared to be tea and a set of reading glasses on a wheeled cart inside the door that faced Southwest 17th Avenue.
As for examining Daniel’s body, Merrill said it appeared he had been shot first on his back, then fallen onto the floor on his back, and then shot in the chest at close range.