PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When detectives first spoke to Nancy Crampton Brophy to inform her of her husband’s death, she told them she and her husband only owned one gun. However, prosecutors say that wasn’t the case and that Nancy also owned a build kit for a ghost gun Glock 19 and a Glock 17 slide and barrel.
That was the focus of Monday’s testimony.
Nancy Crampton Brophy is a romance novelist accused of killing her husband, Chef Daniel Brophy at the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018. Her murder trial began on April 4 and on Monday, the prosecution continued to call witnesses.
The first person to take the stand Monday was Megan Light. She had known the Brophys for decades before Daniel’s death. She described a phone call she made to detectives reporting some conversations she had with Nancy at Daniel’s wake that she found unusual.
The second person to testify was Brett Glendinning who sold Nancy a Glock 17 handgun at a Portland gun show in February 2018.
Detective Anthony Merrill, the lead detective in the investigation, took the stand for a third time Tuesday morning to talk about the discovery of a ghost gun build kit in one of Nancy’s storage units.
Detective Eric McDaniel spoke next about the moment he found the kit. McDaniel also compared a list of minivans to one seen on camera near the crime scene at the approximate time of Daniels’ murder.
Next to take the stand was Kyle Martin, a former owner of Ghostguns.com, a site the prosecution says Nancy used to purchase a ghost gun build kit.
After Martin, Officer Aaron Sparling testified. He works in the Portland Police Bureau’s digital forensics unit and reviewed Nancy’s activities on two laptops officers obtained through a warrant.
The final witness of the day was Patrick Cowen, who owns the gun company the prosecution says sold Nancy a Glock 17 slide and barrel part.
Here are six takeaways from the ninth day of the trial:
Nancy acted odd at the vigil
In a recording of a phone call played before the jury entered court Monday morning, Megan Light recounted for a detective some conversations she had with Nancy at Daniel’s vigil, a couple of days after he died.
Light said Nancy “said a bunch of weird stuff.”
“I said something like, ‘I hope they figure out who did it,’” Light recalled later when she testified, “and I remember pretty much exactly [Nancy] said, ‘I just want to know how it went down.’”
There was a memorial service scheduled for later that week and Light offered to help Nancy in any way or cook for the event. She said Nancy told her, “Apparently when someone gets killed at the culinary school, they put on quite a spread.”
The judge did not allow the phone call to be played before the jury after the defense attorneys argued it was subjective because of Light’s opinions in the call.
Nancy purchased a Glock 17
Brett Glendinning, the person who sold Nancy a Glock 17 at a Portland gun show in February 2018, said the transaction was unremarkable. He said it was like any other transaction.
From what he remembered, Nancy seemed to have a general interest in owning a handgun and getting into shooting. He recommended she purchase a Glock handgun because the firearm can be adapted as its user’s shooting abilities develop.
Prosecutors showed Glendinning evidence photos of the gun they found in Nancy’s house the day her husband was killed. He said it appeared to be the gun he sold her and that the zip tie around the slide and barrel looked like the one the gun company would have put on it at the gun show.
He noticed the slide and barrel was not seated on the frame correctly in the evidence photo but said he imagines the slide and barrel could be removed from the frame without breaking the zip tie and that even with the zip tie on, the slide and barrel could be fully seated on the frame.
Glendinning gave Brophy two recommendations of places she could go to practice firing the gun after he sold it to her.
Detectives find a ghost gun build kit
Detective Anthony Merrill testified a third time Monday to explain that the Portland Police Bureau obtained and executed search warrants on storage units Nancy was renting. In one of them, they found a ghost gun build kit.
Detective Eric McDaniel was the one who discovered it. He was going through a box labeled “Scarves, Purses, GK” when he came across something he recognized as a handgun case. He left it where it was for criminalists to take pictures, but never opened the case himself.
Ghost guns are unserialized, untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. The law states that if a gun is built at home, it doesn’t need to have a serial number and the owner doesn’t need to register it.
Kyle Martin, the former co-owner of GhostGuns.com confirmed what appears to be a purchase Nancy made for a ghost gun build kit on December 24, 2017.
Surveillance photo of minivan doesn’t match vans on detective’s list
On Tuesday, Detective Travis Law explained that he obtained a list from the Department of Motor Vehicles of 21 minivans that were 2004-2005 Toyota Siennas, the same make, model and year of the vehicle Nancy was driving at the time. Law said he took 12 minivans off the list and determined how closely they resembled Nancy’s van and a similar minivan that was seen near the crime scene at the time of Daniel’s death.
He determined only two were the same color as the van Nancy drove. None of them had rims that matched the rims in the surveillance video recorded near the scene of the crime and none of them had license plate numbers that matched Nancy’s.
Detective Eric McDaniel testified Monday and said he examined the other nine minivans on the list and that none of them matched the vehicle from the surveillance video near the crime scene.
A search of Nancy’s computers
Nancy had been on the hunt for a gun for months, according to the internet browsing history on one of her laptops. Officer Aaron Sparling said he investigated two laptops from the Brophy residence. Both appeared to be Nancy’s and one was older than the other.
He said the newer laptop didn’t have any information relevant to the investigation, but the older laptop revealed several searches related to Glock 17s and Glock 19s.
November 27, 2017, was the first time Nancy visited GhostGuns.com and she placed an order from the site about a month later on December 24, 2017.
She then searched for things like “Does a Glock pistol have a big kickback,” “Kick back with glock,” “gun shops in Portland,” and “Portland expo gun show 2018” in January and February 2018, just before she purchased the Glock 17 from the Portland gun show.
She then began searching for Glock 17 and Glock 19 slide and barrels before she created an eBay account and purchased a Glock 17 slide and barrel on February 23, 2018.
The slide and barrel Nancy purchased
Nancy bought the slide and barrel from Caroline and Colt Company, which is based in Texas but sold firearms and parts on eBay in 2018.
The company’s owner, Patrick Cowen, testified Monday. He said there are no license requirements to purchase a slide and barrel. At the time, someone just needed to be a verified eBay user.
He said a Glock slide and barrel is easy to remove and put on a frame. It’s a gun part that can be upgraded and its easy removal makes it simple to lean.
He said Nancy used a PayPal account to place her order and the slide and barrel was shipped on February 26, 2018.
The serial number on a slide and barrel part would not be registered anywhere or connected with Nancy’s name in any way, Cowen said. It’s only the serial number of a frame on a gun that was not built at home that’s registered to a person.
In its opening statement, the prosecution said this slide and barrel Nancy ordered was never recovered by detectives.