PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Closing arguments in the Nancy Brophy murder trial painted a stark difference for the jury who will soon decide whether the 71-year-old romance novelist shot her husband, Dan Brophy, to death at the Oregon Culinary Institute nearly 4 years ago.
Multnomah County Deputy DA Shawn Overstreet told the jury Nancy Brophy methodically planned the killing over months, then put her plan into action on the morning of Saturday, June 2, 2018. The motive was more than money, he said. It was about a lifestyle Nancy wanted and Dan couldn’t provide.
Defense attorney Kristen Winemiller laid out her closing arguments for nearly 2 hours. She tried to swat away some of the key facets of the prosecution’s case, calling it a “speculative theory about how the facts might fit together.” She implored the jury to remember that when they deliberate, the standard of proof to find Nancy Brophy guilty is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Winemiller said the prosecution did not meet that standard.
Rebuttal arguments are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Judge Christopher Ramras will provide final instructions before the jury begins to deliberate. KOIN.com will livestream the trial.
Nancy Brophy was visibly fidgeting in her chair as Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet laid out their case against her.
Overstreet spent a lot of time telling the jury about guns — the ghost gun kit Nancy bought on Christmas Eve, the gun she bought from a gun show in February — guns she turned over to investigators in the days and weeks after Dan was killed.
But there was a gun barrel and slide prosecutors say she bought on eBay — but Nancy Brophy said she didn’t know where that went.
“When she gets back on the morning of the murder she’s in such a hurry to switch these slides and hurries back,” Overstreet told the jury. “In her haste she fails to fully seat the gun and that’s how it goes back to police that way.”
Prosecutors also reminded jurors of the timeline of events from the morning of June 2, 2018. Dan Brophy was killed in a 6-minute window between arriving for work and when the first students of the day began arriving.
With the complicated layout of the Oregon Culinary Institute and that tight timeline, prosecutors said only Nancy Brophy could have the knowledge to carry out the killing.
Watch the prosecution and defense closing arguments lower in this article
One motive prevalent throughout this case is the life insurance money from the Brophys’ multiple policies. Prosecutors said they were struggling with debt, and the life insurance money would top $800,000 if Dan died.
Prosecutors say Nancy wanted to retire somewhere else and vacations such as a trip they took to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota wasn’t cutting it.
“Maybe Dan wasn’t cooking enough for her. Maybe Dan wasn’t giving her enough attention. This wasn’t working for Nancy,” Overstreet said. “Dan was a problem. This isn’t just about money. It’s about the lifestyle and Dan couldn’t give it to her.”
Before the closing arguments began, Judge Christopher Ramras provided the jury with detailed instructions. He noted they will also get a written set of his instructions before their deliberations begin.
Below: The complete closing arguments from the prosecution in the Nancy Brophy murder trial
Defense attorney Kristen Winemiller made it clear to the jury they believe Nancy did not have a motive to kill Dan.
“The bottom line is that Nancy Brophy was far better off — far, far better off — with Dan Brophy in her life,” defense attorney Kristen Winemiller told the jury. “Even if you look at it just in pure economic terms, even if you ignore the love, even if you ignore all of those intangibles that couldn’t go into that equation, she was better off with Dan alive.”
Winemiller also highlighted their income and said Nancy picked up a job that was helping pay down their debt, and that they had a financial plan in place.
She explained to the jury that the unseated gun barrel doesn’t prove anything.
“Obviously it can mis-seat forward, too, or it wouldn’t have been in that condition when they found it,” Winemiller said. “But that doesn’t say that she changed the slide or what they think she did that morning. It just means that the slide had been moved at some point.”
At the end of her nearly 2-hour closing argument, Winemiller reminded the jury their responsibility is to follow the law.
“The overwhelming majority of the information you have heard does not support the state’s version of facts, that that speculative theory about how the facts might fit together, that might have happened isn’t sufficient,” Winemiller said. “Instead, the evidence that you’ve been presented calls very strongly for a verdict of not guilty.”
Below: The complete closing arguments from the defense in the Nancy Brophy murder trial