Unlike the antagonists in her steamy romance thrillers, author Nancy Crampton-Brophy did not get away with murder.
Crampton-Brophy, 71, was convicted in May of second-degree murder in the June 2018 death of her husband, chef Daniel Brophy, who was gunned down at the culinary school where he taught cooking classes.
In court documents, prosecutors said the 63-year-old man had been shot twice – once in the back as he stood at a sink filling ice and water buckets for the students, and then in the chest at close range.
Prosecutors argued the couple was struggling with debt – Crampton-Brophy’s self-published novels were not big sellers – and that his death could have left her with more than $1 million in life insurance policies and other assets.
Crampton-Brophy testified she was better off financially with her husband alive – and the fact her minivan was seen near the school was just coincidence.
They told jurors that Crampton-Brophy followed her husband to work and shot him with a Glock 9mm handgun. Investigators found two 9mm shell casings at the scene. She had also bought a “ghost gun” assembly kit that investigators later found at a storage facility. “Ghost guns” are unregistered and untraceable firearms.
On why she had bought a gun and a ghost-gun kit, she said it was part of research for a new book.
“What I can tell you is it was for writing,” she said. “It was not, as you would believe, to murder my husband.”
In 2011, she published it in a notorious blog post titled, “How to Murder Your Husband.”
The essay was split into sections detailing the pros and cons of killing a villainous husband.
“If the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail,” Crampton-Brophy wrote. “And let me say clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange isn’t my color.”
The trial judge ruled that the essay would not be permitted as evidence because it was written years ago as part of a writing seminar and could unfairly prejudice the jury.
As it turns out, jurors didn’t need to read it to reach their verdict.