PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — KOIN 6 News anchor Jeff Gianola sat down with KOIN.com reporter Amanda Arden to discuss the verdict of the Nancy Crampton Brophy trial and the parts of the trial that stood out to her.

Crampton Brophy, an Oregon romance novelist who once wrote a blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband,” was accused of killing her husband, Daniel Brophy, at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland on June 2, 2018. On Wednesday, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder.

Arden covered the trial since it began on April 4. She watched from the opening statements to the final rebuttal argument. On the few days she did not cover the Brophy trial, she was assisted by digital reporters Gabby Urenda and Joelle Jones.

Below are Arden’s written responses to questions Gianola asked her. These responses were written before Arden and Gianola recorded their conversation and may not match the questions and answers in the video word for word.

This trial was based on circumstantial evidence. What was the one, or key pieces of evidence you think worked in the prosecution’s favor?

Definitely the surveillance video. At first, I expected Nancy to say it wasn’t her van in the videos they’d collected around the Goose Hollow Neighborhood, but when she testified, she said it had to have been her. It showed her in the area at around the exact time investigators believe Dan was killed.

The guns were another key piece of evidence. Investigators never found the spare slide and barrel part Nancy had purchased, but they still had evidence she’d purchased it and she admitted she purchased it. They also proved she had an assembled handgun she could have easily put the missing slide and barrel on to commit the crime. It was the same type of firearm – a Glock 17 – and would have fit the spare side and barrel perfectly. Also, the slide and barrel on that assembled firearm wasn’t seated properly when Nancy handed it over to detectives.

Nancy Crampton Brophy did something rare; she took the stand in her own defense. Did that possibly work against her? Could the outcome have been different if she hadn’t taken the stand?

Of course this is just my opinion, but I think the outcome could have been different if Nancy hadn’t taken the stand.

Before she took the stand, I think the jury could have been left to wonder if Nancy was actually driving her van around the Oregon Culinary Institute at the time of Dan’s murder. While testifying, Nancy admitted this must have been her. She said it was her van and the person driving looked like her and was wearing her clothes, so she said it must have been her.

The reason she didn’t flat-out say it was her is because Nancy claims she has a “memory hole” from the morning of Dan’s murder. She claims she can’t remember specific details, and the story she told on the stand of what she did that morning was much different from what she told detectives in her initial interview.

On the stand, Nancy kept adding new details, changing the story as she went, and I think that would have given the jurors some red flags.

Was there any one moment that stuck out to you in this trial where you felt may have swayed jurors? Did they ask the judge a question while deliberating?

I’m not sure if this moment stood out to jurors, but it really stood out to me. During one of the times Detective Anthony Merrill, one of the lead detectives in the case, was on the stand – a prosecutor asked him if any leads ever led away from Nancy as a suspect, and he said no.

The one question the jurors asked while they were deliberating was about a phone call Nancy made from jail during the trial. In the recording of the phone call, Nancy made comments about the former Oregon Culinary Institute students who testified for the prosecution. She said “all these little girls cried today.” She also made what sounded to me like a racially or culturally insensitive comment about the woman who performed CPR on Dan – and said that woman “cries on cue.”  

The jurors were hoping to listen to this voicemail again, but the judge denied their request.

This might imply jurors were maybe taking Nancy’s reaction to the trial or her lack of sensitivity very seriously when they deliberated.

Did Nancy Crampton Brophy’s demeanor, the way she answered questions, have any effect, do you think on jurors?

It might have, but again, I’d only be guessing. The prosecution pointed out that Nancy was laughing while she testified and suggested how inappropriate that was, given the seriousness of the situation. Nancy said it was only because she had fun, happy memories of Dan that she was sharing and found it hard not to laugh.

Nancy also laughed several times while other witnesses were sharing memories during their testimony.

Nancy’s reaction to her husband’s death was something that was addressed several times. Several people say Nancy tends to handle stressful situations with a straight face and doesn’t show much emotion. Other people said they saw or heard her cry after he died.

In court, Nancy did cry a few times, but for the most part during her testimony, she seemed composed and eager to ramble on and on. Her own attorney had to stop her several times and ask her to not “go down the rabbit hole.”

Were you surprised it didn’t take that long for jurors to reach a decision?

No, I wasn’t surprised. I actually predicted they’d reach a verdict Wednesday morning and it was announced at 11:10 a.m. yesterday that they’d come to a decision. I felt they had quite a bit of time to mull it over Tuesday and that they’d maybe come to a general consensus that night, then sleep on it and submit their verdict Wednesday morning.

Any other final thoughts?

A lot of friends have asked me my thoughts on this trial over the last two months and many of them seemed surprised when I told them that part of me thought she might get off. I was surprised that after nearly four years, there wasn’t more incriminating evidence found and I thought Nancy’s attorneys were doing a good job at creating slivers of doubt.

They suggested it could have been a random attack. They really painted this picture that Nancy and Dan had a plan to retire together and live out the rest of their lives together. I thought the witnesses they brought in did a pretty good job at contradicting the arguments the prosecution made. So, I don’t want people to think that because Nancy was found guilty, that it was a trial that was already decided in early April. The jury definitely had a lot to consider.

Anything I’m missing or you want me to ask you, Amanda?

Yeah, just one thing I want to mention is I’m still not really sure what the motive was in this case. The prosecution has said it was finances, that the Brophys were facing financial ruin and Nancy killed her husband to cash in on his life insurance, but the defense brought in a witness who explained that it looked like the Brophys were paying off their debts, that they were fixing up their house to sell it and downsize, and that taking a loan out of their 401K wasn’t such a bad idea because it didn’t come with any interest.

Also, almost everyone who had a personal relationship with the Brophys said their relationship seemed perfect, even admirable. So, I’m not sure if we’ll ever find out the exact reason as to why she did it.