PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – On the eighth day of Nancy Crampton Brophy’s murder trial, the court heard testimony from the suspect’s friends, neighbors and stepson on the events surrounding her husband’s death.
Crampton Brophy is accused of fatally shooting her husband, Daniel Brophy, at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland on June 2, 2018. Her trial began on April 4.
Who testified Thursday?
Steven Santos: The trial picked up where Wednesday night left off with testimony from insurance expert Steven Santos, who answered questions relating to the multiple life insurance policies taken out by Crampton Brophy and her now-deceased husband.
Terri Reed: As a fellow author and member of the Rose City Romance Writers Group Crampton Brophy was a part of, Reed spoke to the court about how the two friends got “hands-on” firearm experience as research for their stories. Reed said the friends of 14 years even attended a Citizen’s Academy together.
Jessica Marie Smith: Smith was a friend of Nancy Brophy for 10 years and also a member of Rose City Romance Writers Group. She painted a picture of a loving marriage between the Brophys and confirmed her friend had spoken with her about a “gun-assembly kit.”
Heidi Hutchinson: As a next-door neighbor to the Brophys at the time of the murder, Hutchinson told the court she had an “unusual” interaction with Nancy on the morning of Mr. Brophy’s death. She said Crampton Brophy addressed her from inside her car and asked if she had seen their dogs, before taking off in a flustered manner.
Rajendar Singh: Also a neighbor of the Brophy couple during 2018, Singh told the jury Crampton Brophy had spoken with him about purchasing her home just days after her husband’s murder.
Nathaniel Stillwater: Son of Mr. Brophy and stepson of Crampton Brophy, Stillwater confirmed that he had a conversation with his father before his passing during which Brophy mentioned the couple intended to sell their home. He filed a civil lawsuit against Crampton Brophy back in 2019, suing her for $1.7 million.
1. Brophy’s finances showed “inappropriately” high life insurance premiums
Despite financial records which showed the Brophys had struggled to make mortgage and insurance policy payments within the years leading up to Daniel’s death, Santos testified that the couple had taken out numerous life insurance policies for Mr. Brophy alone, to the amount of more than $700,000.
According to his analysis of the insurance records recovered through police warrants, the couple had been paying more than $800 a month for their policies, which was 20% of their reported gross income at the time.
Santos said the amount of money the couple was spending on Mr. Brophy’s life insurance alone was “inappropriate” during the trial on Wednesday, he reiterated on Thursday that if they were his clients, he would suggest they pay only 10-20% of their income on insurance.
2. Friends say Brophy’s “hands-on” gun experience was for story “research”
Long-time friends of Crampton Brophy and fellow Rose City Romance Writers Group members Terri Reed and Jessica Marie Smith took the stand Thursday and both women implied that the suspect’s interactions with guns could be considered consistent with the story research, which is common practice in professional writer circles.
Reed told the court she and Crampton Brophy gained firearm training together at a Citizens Academy conducted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith said she and Crampton Brophy and previously discussed “gun-assembly kits.”
3. Neighbor had “unusual” interaction with Brophy on the morning of Dan’s death
The Brophys’ next-door neighbor, Heidi Hutchinson, told the court she had a strange run-in with Crampton Brophy outside her home on the morning of June 2, 2018.
Hutchinson said she spotted Brophy in her car before her neighbor asked her if she had seen the couple’s missing dogs. The neighbor said she found the exchange strange because she and her family had helped the couple search for and locate the dogs before but never by car.
“To look for the dogs, it’s always been walking with the leashes, and we’d help her go down the backyard without gates…,” Hutchinson recalled. “So that early in the morning to drive looking for them was different.”
4. Neighbors: Nancy was eager to sell the Brophy home after her husband’s murder
A man who used to be a neighbor of the Brophys testified that he spoke with Crampton Brophy about potentially buying her home just days after her husband’s death.
The neighbor, Rajendar Singh, ultimately decided to not buy the home.
This was also echoed in earlier testimony from Hutchinson, who said Crampton Brophy had told her she was hoping to sell the home and move into a condo downtown, during a visit to the Brophys’ house after the murder.
5. Daniel Brophy’s son confirms his father intended to sell their home
Nathaniel Stillwater, Daniel Brophy’s son, testified late Thursday afternoon and said in the year prior to his father’s death, he learned from his father they planned on selling their home.
Stillwater filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Crampton Brophy back in 2019, suing her for $1.7 million.
6. Nancy did not take step son’s calls following his father’s murder
While testifying for the prosecution, Stillwater said he was a gun owner, and in 2016, his stepmother asked about firearms for a book she was working on.
According to Stillwater’s testimony, his grandmother had called him after his father was shot and killed to let him know about his death. He also said that his calls to Crampton Brophy went unanswered.
Additionally, Stillwater told the court Thursday that he tried calling his father’s phone multiple times and that his stepmother didn’t reach out to ask if he was okay.
The trial is expected to resume next Monday.