by Debbie Burke
This case sounds like an episode of Murder She Wrote.
On June 2, 2018, Dan Brophy, 63, a chef and instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, was shot once in the back and once in the chest. Both shots went through the heart, killing him.
In September 2018, Dan’s wife, romance novelist Nancy Brophy, was charged with the murder of her husband of 27 years.
Nancy has been held without bail in Multnomah County Inverness Jail since her indictment. Here’s a link to her booking record.
In April 2020, her attorneys requested Nancy, now 70, be released due to danger from COVID 19. The judge denied the request.
The memorandum asserts the alleged motive is more than a million dollars in life insurance, policies which Nancy apparently sold to herself. She reportedly paid more than $16,000 in premiums to keep the policies current while falling $6000 behind in mortgage payments on the couple’s home.
Portland Monthly recounted the chronology of Dan’s murder on June 2, 2018:
[Nancy] had told police she was home when she learned something happened at the culinary institute the day her husband was killed. But a surveillance camera recorded her driving her Toyota minivan west on Jefferson Street, directly in front of the school, at 7:08 a.m.
At 7:21, Dan disarmed the school’s alarm. At 7:28, the surveillance camera again captured Nancy driving on Jefferson Street. At 7:30, Dan’s colleague arrived at OCI, and at 8, his body was discovered as students entered the kitchen.
The murder weapon is believed to be a Glock 9 mm handgun but it has not been found.
The state’s memorandum also asserts that Nancy owned a Glock 9 mm but a forensics expert did not think that particular weapon fired the fatal shots. However, before the murder, Nancy had purchased a different Glock barrel and parts on eBay, giving rise to speculation she swapped parts.
A search of Dan’s phone revealed a bookmarked article on their shared iTunes account entitled “10 Way to Cover Up a Murder.”
A short story written by Nancy entitled “How to Murder Your Husband” appeared on the blog SeeJanePublish in 2011. That site is not now publicly accessible.
The website Nancy Brophy Writer does not appear to have been updated since early 2018. The “About” page includes this passage:
I live in the beautiful, green, and very wet, Northwest, married to a Chef whose mantra is: life is a science project. As a result there are chickens and turkeys in my backyard, a fabulous vegetable garden which also grows tobacco for an insecticide and a hot meal on the table every night. For those of you who have longed for this, let me caution you. The old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for, when the gods are truly angry, they grant us our wishes.
Nancy Brophy’s trial is scheduled to begin September 28, 2020. Stay tuned.
Debbie Burke’s new novella, Crowded Hearts, is unlike her other thrillers–no crime, no murder, but lots of suspense. Crowded Hearts will soon be released in ebook for FREE to say “thanks” to loyal readers of Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with a Heart.
Cover design by TKZ regular Brian Hoffman.