As you may recall, Nancy Brophy was arrested in 2018 and charged with murdering her husband, a charge that was based on significant evidence other than her 2011 essay, “How to Murder Your Husband.” See “Author of ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ Accused of Murdering Husband” (Sept. 12, 2018). Although the essay didn’t have much to do with it, you probably still won’t be surprised to learn that on Wednesday, a jury in Portland convicted Brophy of murdering her husband.
As I predicted, the judge excluded the essay “How to Murder Your Husband” from Brophy’s trial for murdering her husband. The AP suggests this was because the essay was published too long ago, but it was probably more important that the husband-murders described in “How to Murder Your Husband” weren’t sufficiently similar to the circumstances of this crime to be relevant. Nor was the essay necessary, although the report says a prosecutor was allowed to (or got away with) “allud[ing] to the essay’s themes without naming it” while cross-examining Brophy.
Most likely, the judge ruled that the prosecutor could not name the essay because the name of the essay was “How to Murder Your Husband,” the crime Brophy was accused of committing.
Prosecutors argued that Brophy was motivated by money and wanted to cash in on a life-insurance policy, and showed that she owned the same kind of gun that someone used to murder her husband and was also seen on surveillance cameras driving to and from the Oregon Culinary Institute, the location where he was murdered.
Brophy argued that her money problems had been solved by cashing in part of a retirement plan, and that her presence near the location of her husband’s murder that day was mere coincidence, as she had parked in that area to work on her writing. The name of the document she claimed to have been working on was “How to Explain That Your Presence Near the Location of Your Husband’s Murder Was Mere Coincidence,” or at least that’s what I hope it was called. The defense also argued that “someone else” might have killed Brophy’s husband during a robbery gone wrong, which I guess is possible if you think the Oregon Culinary Institute is a likely target for a robbery. It doesn’t seem likely to me, but then this is Portland we’re talking about.
Brophy will have plenty of time to work on her writing after she is sentenced on June 13 for the charge of second-degree murder.