Nancy Crampton-Brophy, author of the essay “How to Murder Your Husband,” was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the murder of her husband.
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.
The couple had debt – Crampton-Brophy’s self-published novels were not big sellers – and he was insured for more than $1 million, prosecutors argued.
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.
Prosecutors said in court the author followed her husband to work and shot him with a Glock 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.
Crampton-Brophy bought a gun and a ghost-gun kit as part of research for a new book, she told the jury.
“What I can tell you is it was for writing,” she said. “It was not, as you would believe, to murder my husband.”News of the killing and resulting criminal charges made headlines everywhere – partly due to an essay Crampton-Brophy wrote seven years before her husband’s death.
In 2011, she published it in a notorious blog post titled, “How to Murder Your Husband.”
“As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure,” the 700-word post began. It was published on a blog called “See Jane Publish” that has since been made private.
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.