PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The niece of Nancy Crampton Brophy, who is on trial for her alleged role in her husband’s 2018 murder, said the Brophys had an inspirational marriage, a rare, wonderful relationship that she said one doesn’t see every day. 

Susan Estrada took the stand and testified for the defense on the 15th day of her aunt’s murder trial. 

Nancy is accused of murdering her husband, Daniel Brophy, at the Oregon Culinary Institute on June 2, 2018. Estrada’s testimony lasted through most of the morning. 

When she was 11 years old, Estrada stayed with her aunt for the first time, when Crampton Brophy still lived in Colorado. She lived with her on multiple occasions after that, both before and after Nancy moved to the Portland area and married Daniel Brophy.

Between 2011 and 2012, Estrada stayed with Nancy and Daniel for a year at their Beaverton home and she and her aunt sold life insurance plans together. 

She said Crampton Brophy is extremely friendly and outgoing and was great at interacting with clients. 

At home, Nancy and Daniel Brophy seemed to be very happy together. Estrada said they always worked together and compromised on things that weren’t always easy for other couples to compromise on. 

“It was the kind of relationship that made me personally think marriage may not be a bad idea,” Estrada said. “This was a relationship, one of the only ones that I know of that I thought, I could do that. That, if that’s what marriage is like, I would want that.” 

Estrada said she saw Nancy and Daniel go through stressful times together when she lived with them and said they seemed to come together during stressful times rather than grow apart. 

She said the couple always did nice things for each other. Whenever Daniel needed Nancy, she would stop what she was doing to help him or listen to him. Estrada said Daniel always cooked and did laundry. 

Every morning, Nancy would spend a couple of hours in bed writing her latest romance novel and Daniel would always bring her Starbucks, she said. 

Estrada said the Brophys’ relationship remained unchanged over the years, but Daniel had started to change his habits. He gardened less and seemed to watch sports more. Estrada thought this was just a result of his age. 

After Daniel’s murder, Estrada came back to Oregon and stayed for six weeks to help Crampton Brophy get her deceased husband’s affairs in order. She said Nancy maintained her composure in public for the most part, but Estrada could hear her sobbing in her room some nights. She also said her aunt cried during her husband’s memorial service. 

In the weeks following Daniel’s death, Estrada said Nancy didn’t hear much from the police about developments in the investigation. Estrada said Nancy told her “statistically speaking, the wife is always the suspect,” but never told her police had indicated that she was in fact a suspect. 

In court, Estrada told attorneys that Nancy had never mentioned owning a gun and that she never saw a gun or gun parts around the house or in Nancy’s storage units. 

However, in a 2019 interview with a detective, Estrada said Nancy had told her she’d bought a gun. 

Prosecutors asked Estrada about the life insurance policies she and Nancy sold together and if they ever sold multiple life insurance policies to people. Estrada said sometimes multiple policies were necessary because some people can only qualify for so much coverage with one company. Sometimes they’ll need several policies to reach the amount of coverage they desire. 

Cross-examination of Estrada was expected to continue after the lunch break. 

The only other witness to testify Thursday morning was Ellen Lavine, who lives near the former location of the Oregon Culinary Institute, in Southwest Portland. 

Lavine said every morning she walks her dog next to the building that housed OCI. The day of Daniel’s murder, she noticed the garage door to the building was open and Lavine had never seen that before. 

Otherwise, nothing else seemed out of the ordinary, Lavine testified. 

Lavine said she feels safe walking around the neighborhood on her own every morning.