PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Accused murderer and Oregon romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy claims she has a “memory hole.” She can remember some details from the morning her husband was killed, but not all of them.
The story she told in court Tuesday was much different from what she allegedly told detectives on June 2, 2018.
On that day, Daniel Brophy, Crampton Brophy’s husband, was found dead inside the Oregon Culinary Institute. He’d been shot twice through the heart. Students who found him unresponsive performed CPR, but medical experts testified in court saying that with the injuries Brophy suffered, there was no way he could have survived.
Crampton Brophy was arrested on September 5, 2018 and was charged with her husband’s murder. She’s been in jail since then.
Cross-examination reveals different details
Her testimony began Monday and continued Tuesday when Deputy District Attorney Shawn Overstreet asked her questions during cross-examination.
Watch the cross-examination of Nancy Brophy lower in this article
Early on in his questioning, Overstreet asked Crampton Brophy about the purpose of her firearm purchases. In her testimony Monday, Crampton Brophy said she’d bought a Glock 19 ghost gun build kit and a Glock 17 slide and barrel as research for a story she planned to write.
She said she and Dan decided to purchase a Glock 17 handgun for protection after hearing about several mass shootings in 2017. She also thought the handgun would be useful for Dan in case he encountered any territorial people while mushroom hunting.
In questioning Tuesday, Overstreet asked Crampton Brophy more about the gun build kit. She said she’d labeled it “G.K.” for the police department’s benefit, so she could find it when detectives came back. She assumed they’d come back to question her again when they “didn’t find anything” and said she always thought she’d be considered a suspect since she was Brophy’s wife, but detectives never returned until they arrested her.
Overstreet asked Crampton Brophy why, if she thought police might be interested in the gun kit, did she not contact them herself to tell them about it? Crampton Brophy said she thought since the kit wasn’t assembled, it wasn’t a gun and she expected the police would be “doing their jobs.”
In answering further questions about the firearms she purchased, Crampton Brophy admitted she had taken the slide and barrel off the fully-assembled Glock 17 handgun she purchased at a gun show in Portland. She said she and Brophy had both handled the gun and said it was difficult for her to remove the slide and barrel.
The prosecution, in its opening statement, suggested Crampton Brophy had exchanged the slide and barrel on this gun with the spare slide and barrel she’d purchased. Detectives never found the extra slide and barrel and the markings on the bullet casings found near Brophy’s body do not match the markings made by either the ghost gun kit’s slide and barrel or the Glock 17’s slide and barrel.
Overstreet asked Crampton Brophy why she bought another slide and barrel if she had been able to take the one off the gun she owned to inspect it. Crampton Brophy said she was fascinated with guns at the time and wanted to order the part separately for her writing research. She also said Brophy didn’t want her playing with the handgun they’d purchased.
“What I can tell you is it was for writing. It was not, as you would believe, to murder my husband,” Crampton Brophy said.
She said the missing slide and barrel was packed with her belongings before she was arrested. She doesn’t know how it went missing when her belongings were moved.
Memory of the morning of June 2, 2018
Overstreet also questioned Crampton Brophy about what she was doing the morning of Brophy’s death. Crampton Brophy said that morning, she woke up, spoke to Brophy about a leak under the sink in their bathroom, then left the house to get coffee and work on her writing.
Nancy testified Monday saying she has a memory of finding a spot to park and working on her writing, but said she can’t remember if that took place on June 2, 2018.
Overstreet asked her, “if you do not know, you have no memory of driving around downtown on the morning of June 2, how can you sit here today and say that ‘I was driving around writing?’”
Crampton Brophy said if she was driving around the area of Oregon Culinary Institute at that time, that’s what she would have been doing.
She admitted Monday that she was the person inside the minivan seen in surveillance video from businesses near the Oregon Culinary Institute at the approximate time of her husband’s murder.
Crampton Brophy said her statements about what happened that morning are “based upon putting stuff back together, not based upon actual memory.”
Overstreet asked her if she has no memory of what she was doing while driving around, how does she know she didn’t go in the Oregon Culinary Institute building?
Crampton Brophy replied saying, “I know I didn’t go in the building because I know I didn’t kill Dan. I know that for a fact.”
When she was asked if she agreed she was driving around the corner of the Oregon Culinary Institute at the exact time her husband was shot, Brophy said no.
“No, I actually I don’t agree with that. I was driving around for a full hour before Dan got murdered. I was down there before Dan ever got to school, was driving around riding for a full hour,” Brophy testified. “I was only in that vicinity for 6 minutes and I don’t know that Dan was murdered in that 6 minutes.”
The description Crampton Brophy gave in court is drastically different from what she told detectives the day Brophy was found dead. When detectives interviewed her, she said she saw Brophy at their house in the morning and told him about the leak under the sink. She said she stayed home that morning and was writing in her bed. She said she had not left the house.
Crampton Brophy told the prosecutor that if she had shot her husband, she’s certain she would remember all the details.
Brophy’s team claims she doesn’t remember all the details of that morning because of the trauma she suffered when she learned Dan was dead.
During redirect questioning, Crampton Brophy told her attorney Lisa Maxfield that she’s experiencing a “memory hole” from the morning of Brophy’s murder.
She attributes part of this hole to the fact that the day was uneventful and not out of the ordinary until the moment she received a phone call about police activity at the Oregon Culinary Institute.
A psychologist to performed tests on Crampton Brophy testified as an expert witness in the trial and said a person’s memory can be affected by traumatic events.
Overstreet asked her about that memory loss.
“It’s critical moments that you were there in the area at the same time someone happens to be shooting your husband within a 6-minute window with the exact type of gun that you own and is now mysteriously missing. Is that your version of what happened?” he asked.
“That is not my version,” Brophy replied. “The only thing I know for sure is I did not kill Dan.”
After about 12 hours on the witness stand, Brophy’s testimony concluded shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday. KOIN 6 News and KOIN.com will continue to follow this story.
KOIN 6 News reporter Liz Burch contributed to this report