PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On day 23 of the trial of accused murderer and Oregon romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, a woman who shared a jail space with her took the stand.
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.
Wednesday’s witness, 51-year-old Anndrea Jacobs, told the court that she was in the same dorm at the Multnomah County Jail with Brophy. A hearing was previously scheduled for the defense to question the validity of Jacobs as a witness.
Jacobs was sentenced in January 2021 to federal prison for tax crimes and bank fraud and was in jail at the same time as Brophy from January 2021 to March 2021, according to the court.
In court on Wednesday, Jacobs had new counsel and was allowed to take the stand. However, the judge asked both the prosecution and the defense to not ask questions about her currently being in custody. When questioned by the prosecution, Jacobs told the court she did not want to testify and preferred the facility in Texas — where she is currently serving her sentence — over the Multnomah County jail.
She said she spoke with law enforcement in April and said detectives visited, whom she spoke to in a recorded interview.
In a phone call after the meeting, she told authorities she told them she did not want to be part of the trial. She added that her September 2020 plea deal did not involve the Brophy case.
Jacobs is also currently under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and admitted receiving a letter from her attorney saying she was being investigated. However, she said she did not discuss the letter with the detective. The witness also told the prosecution she had no benefit in testifying and no hope testifying would help her case.
When asked about her time in jail, she said she was housed with Brophy the entire time she was incarcerated. Jacobs told the court she became friends with Brophy and had her bed close to her.
At one point, she admitted to sharing a nearby bed out of choice with Brophy. Other details included the two talking daily about food, wine and travel. Jacobs said she did not talk about her criminal cases with Brophy, but said Brophy mentioned hers.
The prosecution then presented a People magazine cover to Jacobs, who said she saw a similar one in prison owned by Brophy. She told prosecuting attorney Shawn Overstreet that Brophy wanted her to read the magazine and told others to read it, too.
Overstreet asked Jacobs if Brophy spoke about Dan Brophy to her, to which she replied, “some,” including that Dan Brophy liked to cook. She added that Nancy Brophy’s demeanor when talking about her late husband did not involve crying or wailing.
“I remember asking her if she could use the media to help find who killed her husband because I felt like that was important,” Jacobs said. “If you had a platform then you could use that platform to help find out who did this horrible thing to her husband. And she said she didn’t have to prove who killed her husband. She just needed to worry about proving that she didn’t.”
Jacobs’ testimony included her saying Brophy asked her to be a witness in the murder case, which Jacobs did not agree to or decline in the moment, she said. The witness added Brophy later took back the request.
During her time in jail with Brophy, Jacobs said she asked Brophy how her husband died. She told the court that Brophy said he was “shot two times in the heart,” and then showed with her arms how far away it was from where Dan Brophy was shot.
“When we were first talking, she slipped up and she started to say ‘I,’ but then she switched really quick to, ‘It.’ So, I mean, she was saying, ‘It was about this far,” Jacobs recalled.
The defense then had a chance to question Jacobs. Brophy’s lawyers started off by questioning her about past federal convictions. The judge told the defense they could ask about a particular conviction but not underlying conduct after the prosecution objected.
As the defense carried on, they questioned Jacobs about wanting to leave jail while serving her sentence along with committing repeating crimes.
“I can assure you I’m not the same person I was two and a half years ago,” Jacobs said.
Brophy’s lawyers also asked Jacobs about an ongoing bankruptcy case, which was allowed by the judge in the line of questioning, along with a compassionate release filed by Jacobs. The defense also questioned the witness about a meeting she had with detectives in April.
Jacobs said she was not aware of the government’s objection to her compassionate release case when she spoke to detectives. She also denied telling other inmates she expected to be out soon.
However, she did say detectives told her the information she had on Brophy could be of value to her, and Jacobs responded to detectives by saying, “that wasn’t necessary.”
The witness later told the defense that the only thing she knew about Brophy’s case was through her boyfriend, who was out of jail. She said she spoke with her boyfriend about three times per day.
The prosecution later had time to question Jacobs once more. She told Overstreet she had threats made against her for testifying in court that day.
“This is not an easy thing to do. It’s the worst thing you can do when you’re incarcerated is to testify against another inmate,” Jacobs explained. “There’s a certain code of ethics in prison and in jail and I’ve been threatened every single day.”
She said there’s no way to be isolated at the camp in Texas, where she is currently serving her sentence.
Also on the stand: Daniel Reisberg
Earlier in the day, the defense called Reed College Professor Daniel Reisberg to the stand to talk about Brophy’s “memory hole” on the day of the murder discussed prior in court. Brophy said she can remember some details from the morning her husband was killed, but not all of them.
Prior to him taking the stand, the judge allowed for a break for the prosecution to read materials from Reisberg.
Reisberg told the court part of his research is focused on how memory operates. More specifically, how accurately people can remember biologically.
He noted in his testimony that he is not trained as a mental health professional and was going to talk on Wednesday about traumatic memory and how the brain responds to traumatic shock.
The judge made clear that he had no issue with the defense asking general questions about how trauma might impact memory but would not allow them to testify again for Brophy by repeating what she said.
When asked how a person reacts upon receiving traumatic news in relation to the memory, Reisberg said it would depend on how extreme the trauma response is. He added that can be a positive response to memory, which is true up to a certain point.
However, he said that if the stress is too severe, it could have a different response because the body makes a series of adjustments for “survival.”
Reisberg explained to the court that a high level of stress leads to a biological process for memory consolidation not happening, which then means there’s no memory. He mentioned retrograde amnesia, which can make someone lose their memory minutes or hours prior to stress because the body is sending resources elsewhere.
When asked about a traumatic event happening at 10 a.m. by the defense, Reisberg says someone could lose their memory half an hour before and half hour after. He then added that retrograde amnesia could make someone lose their memory farther back in time.
The Reed professor told the court that for memory to stick, the person has to be paying attention to it. He used someone losing track for 30 miles while driving because their mind is someone else during the action as an example.
In his testimony, the defense also asked about retrograde memory being reconstructed or not along with photos helping reconstruct someone’s memory with retrograde amnesia. He added the photos can be helpful but “less accurate.”
The prosecution also had a chance to question Reisberg.
The team asked Reisberg about his “side business” as a consultant in criminal business, which he agreed he had but did not know how much money he was being paid by the defense to testify on Wednesday. He confirmed that he has not testified for the state in any cases.
Reisberg also admitted to asking the defense for permission before talking to the state. He later agreed with the prosecution that it was important to be neutral when presenting information in criminal court.
He also sided with the prosecution that memories tend to be correct more often than not. The witness also agreed with the state on research citing a “common pattern” of defendants claiming amnesia in homicide cases.
Next on the stand: Paul Johnson
Johnson said he was a neighbor of the Brophys since 2009 in Beaverton and is a current realtor. He told the court he was acquainted with Nancy Brophy and spoke to her as he gardened, and she walked her dogs.
The witness added that they would occasionally talk about the real estate market in general before Dan Brophy’s death. After Dan Brophy’s death, she asked him to take a look at her house and he gave her a general value of her home.
Next on the stand: Nicholas White
White works for AKS Engineering and Forestry. He mostly told the court that he had no record of Dan or Nancy Brophy contacting him about their home.
Next on the stand: Dr. Suzanne Best
Best is a clinical and forensic psychologist. She evaluated the death notification audio of Nancy Brophy.
The prosecution questioned Best about Nancy Brophy and how she evaluated her. Best’s testimony will continue in court Thursday, May 18.