"How To" Author Murders Husband

Writer of romance novels, murder mysteries, and a blog titled, "How to Murder Your Husband" is facing charges in Oregon for allegedly shooting and killing her husband. Nancy Crampton-Brophy was arrested at the beginning of September for allegedly shooting her husband, Daniel Brophy, at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland where he worked.

Crampton-Brophy immediately went on Facebook to write a post about he late husband.

“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,” Crampton-Brophy wrote June 3.

After a couple months of investigating, the detectives came to the conclusion that Crampton-Brophy is a suspect in the murder of her husband.

Crampton-Brophy was arraigned in Multnomah County Court.

Her alleged motive was not made public, as the judge approved a request by prosecutors to seal key court documents.

In November 2011, Crampton-Brophy published a blog titled “How to Murder Your Husband” where she said she spends “a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure.”

“After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail,” she wrote. “And let me say clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange isn’t my color.”

Crampton-Brophy wrote that possible motives for murdering one’s husband as well as weapon “options to consider.”

“I find it is easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them. I don’t want to worry about blood and brains splattered on my walls. And really, I’m not good at remembering lies,” Crampton-Brophy wrote.

“But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”

Comments from Allen:

It always seemed suspicious to me, in the "Murder, She Wrote" series, that Jessica Fletcher wrote about murders and always seemed to be at or near the scene of the crime when someone was killed.  Same with Mrs. Marple.  I always suspected there was MURDER in the hearts of these apparently sweet, little old ladies.  Seriously: how many people do you know who have been at or near the scene of one murder, much less 50 or so murders?  Coincidence?  I think not.

As to Mrs. Crampton-Brophy, it appears she was only associated with one actual murder.  Her defense attorney will be waging a strong fight to keep evidence from the jury that she writes the "How to Murder Your Husband" blog.

Under a rule of evidence in effect throughout the United States, the judge will have to weigh the probative value of that evidence vs. the prejudicial effect of letting the jury hear it.

The judge in the "People v. O.J. Simpson" murder case had a similar issue before him.  Only weeks prior to OJ's slashing the throats of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman (he did, a wrongful death action following the murder trial established that), The Juice had made a movie, "Frogmen," in which he played an ex-Navy SEAL.  During the course of making that never-released TV pilot, OJ was trained to sneak up behind a victim, turn the head to the side and slash his throat before stabbing him.  That is exactly how Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson were murdered.  The judge never let that evidence into the trial, as it was too prejudicial.

I believe the prosecution in the Crampton-Brophy murder case will have to extablish that the author was thinking her own thoughts out loud, as an admission of her state of mind, as opposed to writing in an entertaining fashion designed to attract the interest of her readers, if the evidence of her writings about murdering the love of her life are to be presented to a jury.

Any posts on Facebook, as opposed to writing for entertainment, would be admissible if relevant to the crime charged.  About a year ago, I had a case involving an alleged victim of a sex crime.  I wanted to present evidence that this "innocent young thing" wrote sex fantasy stories involving bizarre sexual conduct, as evidence that her accusations of bizarre sex conduct of her stepfather were just more examples of sex fiction from this girl.  The judge would not let me do it.

The lesson here: just because something happened, or just because the defendant wrote or said something incriminating, does not mean the jury will ever hear it.

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