PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Thursday, the prosecution picked up right where it left off the previous day in the trial of accused murderer and Oregon romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy.
Daniel Brophy, a chef and instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute, was found dead inside the school on June 2, 2018. On September 5, 2018. His wife, Crampton Brophy was arrested.
First on the stand: Dr. Suzanne Best
Best is a clinical and forensic psychologist and continued her testimony on Thursday, which she began on Wednesday. Best told the court she reviewed a doctor’s report on how Crampton Brophy responds to stress in a cogitative fashion, meaning she responded to a crisis in a calm way.
The psychologist added that Crampton Brophy engaged her rational brain over her emotional brain.
Her testimony included an explanation of disassociation being an emotional-based response and not cogitative. When asked if a cogitative person could disassociate, she said no.
Earlier this week, Crampton Brophy claimed she has a “memory hole.” She can remember some details from the morning her husband was killed, but not all of them.
The defense also got a chance to cross-examine Best.
The team questioned her about how many times she testified for the defense in federal court, which Best had trouble remembering. She later said her research was mostly focused on police officers, military and sexual assault survivors — trauma-related conditions.
She said dissociative amnesia is a symptom people with post-traumatic stress disorder can have. Best added that generally, people having gaps or holes in their memories is due to a small piece of trauma.
If someone has a whole chunk of memory missing, she said it’s usually rarer and a result of childhood trauma. Her testimony included her saying that most people can voluntarily access the memory.
When questioned by the defense, Best noted that high levels of cortisol can impact memory but those are not the only factors. She also explained to the defense the difference between consolidation and an encoding memory failure. There was also a discussion regarding the timeframe of memory consolidation.
Best also went into detail about PTSD and how some memories can’t be accessed due to psychological reasons. Her testimony noted that people who experience direct trauma have more psychological issues than those who don’t, which led to her addressing the difference between grief and trauma.
The defense asked Best if high cortisol levels impact how the body works and not just past trauma, and Best agreed with the assertion and added that people differ in cortisol responses. Best also took back a statement from her testimony on Wednesday that said 5% of the population commit murders, which she described as “inaccurate.”
Her testimony included her agreeing with the defense that cogitatively oriented people can panic.
She also made clear that she is not a memory expert, and the prosecution later clarified saying Best is a trauma expert and how trauma can impact the brain.
Second on the stand: Robert Azorr
Azorr was called to the stand to discuss the Brophys’ finances and give a more in-depth breakdown of the couple’s accounts and the forecast he created on what their financial situation would look like with or without Dan’s death. More specifically, he created two exhibits the prosecution and defense had questions on.
Third on the stand: Kelsey Guay
Guay has testified before in the trial and is an investigative analyst for the Portland Police Bureau. She told the court she was told to review cellphone site location data for AT&T cell phones in relation to the case and was asked to look at them again, which included six months of data.
In greater detail, Guay was asked to look for any cell site activity in Vernonia, located in Columbia County. Guay testified that Crampton Brophy’s phone was not located during that time frame in that area.
The defense then questioned her about the cell towers around Vernonia.
Fourth on the stand: Biran Wilke
Wilke was called once again to the stand. He was the executive chef and president at the Oregon Culinary Institute when Daniel Brophy was killed in 2018 and up until the school closed in 2020.
He told the court he was at the OCI the morning of Brophy’s death helping shuffle students to the administration building. Wilke added that he saw Crampton Brophy arrive at OCI as she was standing six feet behind police tape.
Wilke recalled having a conversation with Nancy Brophy, but police officers later intercepted. He described her as “normal” and was surprised to see her that way.
When questioned by the defense, he confirmed he escorted Crampton Brophy and testified to a video taken by a local news station showing him doing that.
Fifth on the stand: Clarinda Perez
Perez was called once again to testify by the state. She was the person to discover Brophy on his back on the floor of a culinary institute kitchen.
Perez was attending OCI at the time of the incident and remembers driving there the morning of, parking and entering the building through the student entrance.
The defense then objected to her testimony because she was repeating her previous testimony and described her as not a proper rebuttal witness.
The judge then asked the jury and witness to leave the courtroom to discuss Perez as a rebuttal witness. Prosecuting attorney Shawn Overstreet told the judge that Perez’s interaction with Brophy at the memorial was something to note because Brophy said life-saving measures of her husband were discussed but Perez denied that happening.
According to the prosecution, Perez said she tried to talk to Crampton Brophy about the life-saving measures, but Crampton Brophy didn’t want to hear it. However, the judge sustained the defense’s objection and said he would review notes on what Crampton Brophy specifically said on the matter.
The prosecution added that Perez should take the stand because she found Daniel Brophy, yet remembers the events leading up to her discovery. The judge once again sustained the defense’s objection.
Sixth on the stand: Richard Hursui
The defense called Hursui, a private investigator, to the stand considering he has been working on the case and took interior photos of the Multnomah County Jail — where Wednesday’s witness, 51-year-old Anndrea Jacobs, told the court that she was in the same dorm at the jail with Brophy.
When asked about her time in jail, Jacobs said she was housed with Crampton Brophy the entire time she was incarcerated. Jacobs told the court she became friends with Crampton Brophy and had her bed close to her.
At one point, she admitted to sharing a nearby bed out of choice with Crampton Brophy. Other details included the two talking daily about food, wine and travel. Jacobs said she did not talk about her criminal cases with Crampton Brophy, but said Crampton Brophy mentioned hers.
The defense had Hursui go through select photos to examine how close the attorney’s phones are to the common use areas. Hursui said he took about 200 photographers and was escorted by staff as he took them.
There was no cross-examination by the prosecution.
Seventh on the stand: Rosalind Lee
Lee is a lawyer called to the stand by the defense to talk about federal practice guidelines in response to the prosecution calling Jacobs as a witness. She gave insight on how the government — at a federal level — deals with “cooperating” witnesses and what can “help” an inmate pre or post plea deal.
The defense plans on calling more rebuttal witnesses to the stand on Friday, May 20.