PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A release hearing for Nancy Crampton Brophy, the romance novelist accused of killing her chef-husband at the Oregon Culinary Institute in 2018, will continue on Wednesday after an all-day session went longer than expected.
Her attorneys want her to be released from jail because of coronavirus concerns.
Brophy’s defense team filed the motion for release at the beginning of April. In it, her attorneys claim nearly all new inmates are brought into the unit where she’s being held and are held there until its determined they don’t have the coronavirus. The court documents also claim she is not getting any protections near the new inmates and often stands within 6 feet of them.
The hearing will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
On Monday, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to deny bail to Nancy Crampton Brophy. (Read the entire motion at the bottom of this article)
The request comes as some jails and prisons released people in custody to prevent the spread of the virus.
Daniel Brophy’s murder
Nancy is accused of killing her husband, Daniel Brophy. He was a chef and teacher at the Oregon Culinary Institute.
Daniel was shot and killed on June 2, 2018. His body was found later that same Saturday morning by students as they arrived for class.
According to court documents, Daniel left his house to go to work on the morning of June 2. By 7:21 a.m. he had disarmed the alarm and was the only person at OCI.
One of Daniel’s coworkers arrived at 7:30 a.m. but didn’t find his body in the back kitchen until she let students inside at 8 a.m.
Investigators found surveillance footage from a nearby Bellagio’s Pizza that seems to show Nancy driving her Toyota minivan directly in front of OCI. At 7:28 a.m., Nancy is again seen leaving the area of OCI.
Daniel was shot twice: once in the back and once in the chest. Both bullets — likely from a Glock 9mm handgun — pierced his heart and either could have been the fatal shot, the medical examiner said. Investigators found that there was no sign of force or struggle, nor were there signs of robbery. Daniel still had all his personal items — wallet, cell phone, glasses, car keys — on his body.
Shortly after detectives arrived at the scene, Nancy also arrived in the same Toyota minivan. She said she had been home all morning and left when she got the call about an incident at OCI. She also said she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt him.
The day after his death, Nancy posted on her Facebook saying in part: “My husband and best friend, Chef Dan Brophy was killed yesterday morning. For those of you who are close to me and feel this deserved a phone call, you are right, but I’m struggling to make sense of everything right now.”
‘How to Murder Your Husband’
Nancy is a novelist. She wrote about romance, she wrote about storytelling and she wrote about mystery. And nearly seven years before the untimely death of her husband, she wrote an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” That essay was originally published in November of 2011 online at See Jane Publish.
In that essay, she listed five motives for murder:
- Financial: Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?
- Lying, cheating b*****d: This is a crime of passion. In anger, you bash his head in or stab him with a kitchen knife.
- Fell in love with someone else: Let’s say your Church frowns on divorce. You need to be a widow, so you won’t fall out of favor with your religion.
- Abuser: This one is tough. Anybody can claim abuse. What is abuse?
- It’s your profession: Now we’re talking. You already possess both skill and knowledge. You have the moral ambiguity necessary to carry it off.
Timeline of accusations, arrest, indictment
On September 5, 2018, three months after his death, Nancy was arrested and charged with Daniel’s murder. She made her first court appearance the next day and was also charged with the unlawful use of a weapon.
On September 14, 2018, Nancy was indicted on one count of murder with a firearm by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. The then-68-year-old woman was accused of using a 9mm pistol to kill her husband. At the time, the probable cause affidavit for her arrest had been sealed by the DA’s office.
Three days later on September 17, 2018, Nancy was arraigned. During that court appearance, Nancy pleaded not guilty.
For a brief time at the end of 2018 into early 2019, prosecutors argued that they had evidence that showed Nancy had “engaged in ongoing criminal behavior while in custody.” Attorneys said they believed she was being visited by people while in jail who assisted in that criminal behavior and asked for a list of the people who visited her while in custody. Nancy’s defense team moved to have her jail visitor log sealed.
By February 2019, a judge had ruled to keep her visitor logs sealed for the time being, as well as the probable cause documents related to her case. While this information is typically considered public record, Nancy’s attorneys argued that unsealing those documents and logs put the defense at a disadvantage — calling it unconstitutional.
Two months later, on April 5, 2019, Judge Kenneth Walker again listened to attorney arguments over the sealed documents, but decided that he would unseal them at Nancy’s bail hearing that was slated for April 19.
As anticipated, the Multnomah County judge unsealed the probable cause documents, including 12 search warrants.
These court documents shed new light on the high-profile case. They included details, such as the surveillance footage investigators found that showed Nancy driving by the OCI in her Toyota minivan. They also showed that Nancy had told detectives she recently bought a Glock 9mm handgun but claimed neither she nor her husband had ever used it.
Days after Daniel’s murder, Nancy asked for a letter from detectives stating she was not a suspect so she could give it to their life insurance company, and said Daniel’s policy was valued at $40,000. Detectives did not give her that letter and later learned Nancy was the beneficiary on several insurance policies with a total value of more than $350,000. They also learned Nancy had worked in and sold life insurance policies in the past.
When she was arrested on September 5, 2018, Nancy said, “You must think I murdered my husband.”
Investigators said she never offered an explanation about why she lied about where she was on the morning of the murder, nor did she say anything about the life insurance money.
At the beginning of April 2020, Nancy’s defense team filed a motion to have her released from jail, citing concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. A hearing on the matter will happen on Tuesday, April 28.
KOIN 6 News will update this story with the events that happened in Nancy’s court appearance.