PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As romance novelist and accused murderer Nancy Crampton Brophy continued to take the stand on Tuesday as prosecutors cross-examined her over her denials of being involved in her husband’s murder, a legal analyst shared insight into why the author’s testimony is out of the ordinary.
Tung Yin, a law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, told KOIN 6 News “it’s pretty unusual” to have any criminal defendant testify at their trial since the defendant has a right to not take the stand.
“When you take the stand as a witness, you can tell your side of the story, but you open yourself up to cross-examination,” Yin said, adding “the prosecutor can ask very probing cross-examination questions.”
Defense attorneys are also taking a gamble when they put their client on the stand to testify, Yin explained.
“You want your witness, the defendant, to come across as believable and human and likeable, and the danger is if they get needled too much by cross-examination, what if they just blow up in rage?” Yin said. “That would backfire with the jury.”
However, Yin said at the end of the day, the decision to take the stand rests on one person alone: the defendant.
Crampton Brophy took the stand in her defense for much of Monday, denying any role in her husband Daniel Brophy’s June 2018 slaying at the now-defunct Oregon Culinary Institute, before prosecutors began their cross-examination with an hour left in the day’s proceedings. It resumed on Tuesday morning with prosecutors continuing to ask Crampton Brophy about the Glock 17 handgun she bought at a gun show in Portland and her allegedly foggy memories from the morning her husband was killed.