PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – On the 14th day of Nancy Crampton Brophy’s murder trial, eight witnesses took the stand to testify for the defense. 

The day opened with ongoing testimony from Tiffany Couch, a certified public accountant and owner of Acuity Forensics. Couch is certified in financial forensics and is a certified fraud examiner. 

In her testimony Tuesday, Couch spoke more about the Brophys’ financial situation and what she determined to be their net worth. 

This is the full list of witnesses who testified Wednesday: 

  • Tiffany Couch — Certified public accountant and owner of Acuity Forensics
  • Richard Freimark — Acquaintance of the Brophys and president of Meridian Trust Real Estate
  • Dr. Daniel Rubenson —  Emeritus professor of economics at Southern Oregon University
  • Frederick Hartvedt — Mechanic at BMW Portland
  • Francisco Jaramillo — Employee at BMW Portland
  • Melanie Hammericksen — Former student, mentee, coworker of Daniel Brophy
  • Sarah Taylor — Sergeant with the Portland Police Bureau
  • Brad Clifton — Detective with the Portland Police Bureau

The wide range of witnesses covered topics ranging from finances to real estate to arriving at the crime scene at Oregon Culinary Institute. 

Nancy is accused of killing her husband Daniel at the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018. 

Here are six takeaways from the 14th day of the trial: 

The Brophys’ net worth 

Nancy Crampton Brophy Trial Day 14
Tiffany Couch testifies in the murder trial of Nancy Crampton Brophy on May 4, 2022. Nancy is accused of killing her husband, Daniel Brophy, on June 2, 2018 at the Oregon Culinary Institute. (KOIN)

On Tuesday, the defense left the court on a cliffhanger and made them wait to find out how much the Brophys’ estimated net worth was at the time of Daniel’s death. 

Wednesday, Couch testified that she estimated their net worth was $378,987 on June 1, 2018. That’s the estimated value of their total assets (things like the money they have in savings, the value of their home and all their possessions) minus their total liabilities. 

Couch said net worth is important to understand the overall financial health of a family and based on what she saw with the Brophys, their finances weren’t concerning. 

The Brophys needed to take a loan 

Despite stating repeatedly that the Brophys were not on a “financial cliff” at the time Daniel was murdered, Couch agreed with prosecutors that with how far behind the couple was on mortgage payments, they either needed to take out a loan or sell their house. 

The Brophys fell more than $8,000 behind on mortgage payments. In September 2017, they took out a $35,000 loan from Daniel’s 401K to pay off the mortgage and pay for home improvement projects. 

Couch said Daniel was making monthly payments to pay back the loan and was contributing more to his 401K than he was before he took out the loan. 

She said the Brophys had paid off one of their credit cards, were making payments on another, and were handling their debt in a logical way. 

Talk of subdividing 

Richard Freimark said he first met Nancy Brophy in the 1990s when she cooked for the synagogue he attended. At the time, Freimark owned a bagel business. Even after he sold the business, he would sell Nancy bagels for her catering business. 

He and Nancy stayed in touch over the years, and Freimark eventually entered the Real Estate business. He’s now the president of Meridian Trust Real Estate in Portland. 

At some point, he said Nancy and Daniel contacted him and spoke to him about the possibility of subdividing their lot. He told them it was possible, but he admitted he’s not an expert on subdividing. 

He said subdividing is limited by time and access to an engineer. He heard of someone who was interested in buying the property and subdividing it, so Freimark recommended a couple of engineers to that person. 

Freimark did not say if the person was interested in buying the lot before or after Daniel died or if he was ever involved in the sale of the property. The Brophys did not sell their home before Daniel died. 

Analysis of economic loss 

Dr. Daniel Rubenson is an emeritus professor of economics at Southern Oregon University. He’s a forensic economist who examines the loss of estate of individuals after they die. 

In the case of Daniel’s death, the defense asked Rubenson what Daniel’s death cost the family in terms of economic loss. Rubenson said to determine total economic loss, he takes two things into consideration: how much a person would have earned financially through the end of their life and how much they would have contributed to household services. 

Rubenson said there is a formula and data that allows economists to determine how much a person contributed to household services and what the value of those services is if someone else was needed to step in and perform them. Household services are things like chores around the house, running errands and caring for children.

For Daniel, based on his age, employment, marital status and the fact that he didn’t have any children living at home, Rubenson estimated that between the time he died at age 63 and when he was expected to retire at age 70, Daniel would have contributed about 16.5 hours each week to household services. 

After his retirement, that was expected to increase to 23.5 hours per week. 

With this in mind, and knowing Daniel’s salary the year before he died, Rubenson estimated the total economic loss to be $1,133,032. Rubenson estimated Daniel would be contributing to his family’s income and household services until age 81, which is the average life expectancy. 

No violent interactions with homeless people outside OCI 

Frederick Hartvedt and Francisco Jaramillo are both employees at BMW Portland and worked at the location across the street from the Oregon Culinary Institute at the time Daniel was murdered. 

Nancy Crampton Brophy Trial Day 14
Francisco Jaramillo testifies in the murder trial of Nancy Crampton Brophy on May 4, 2022. Nancy is accused of murdering her husband, Daniel Brophy, at the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018. (KOIN)

They both testified Wednesday about what the area around their workplace was like. Both said there were occasionally homeless people who camped near BMW Portland, but they never stayed for long. Sometimes they would camp there for 2-3 nights and then leave. Sometimes they wouldn’t see anyone for a couple of weeks. 

Hartvedt said on occasion, someone would jump the fence into their lot or would break windows trying to find things. 

Jaramillo said one time, a man tried stealing a vehicle, but he was unsuccessful and ran away. He said the dealership employees never had violent interactions with anyone who camped near BMW Portland. 

“I owe everything to this man” 

Melanie Hammericksen was nervous when she took the stand Wednesday and became emotional when she talked about her memories with Daniel. He had been her instructor when she attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. He was later her mentor and eventually, the two worked together at Oregon Culinary Institute. 

Hammericksen said she and Daniel became very close over the years. Her father had died when she was 19 and she saw Daniel as a father figure. He even planned to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. 

“He was my mentor. I owe everything, my whole career, to this man,” Hammericksen said. “I read something about somebody saying that, when he died, a piece of them died. That’s how I feel.” 

Hammericksen said Daniel never complained to her about his marriage. 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article identified Dr. Daniel Rubenson as a forensic accountant. The article has since been corrected to clarify that he is a forensic economist.