Romance novelist Nancy Crampton-Brophy on trial for murder, stepson testifies

Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 6:29 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Romance novelist Nancy Crampton-Brophy is accused of shooting and killing her husband. On Thursday, her stepson testified against her.

Nathaniel Stillwater, Crampton-Brophy’s stepson, spent more than an hour and a half on the stand saying the couple seemed to have a good marriage without cause for concern.

He described being fairly close from his early twenties onward with both his father and Nancy, and that they were close with his children too.

“My grandmother called me again to say that my father had been shot. Her words were ‘your sweet daddy it was your sweet daddy,’” said Stillwater.

Nathaniel Stillwater says those words are seared into his memory from June 2, 2018, when he found out his father had been killed.

The 71-year-old romance novelist Crampton-Brophy was accused of shooting and killing Chef and Instructor Daniel Brophy while he was working at Oregon Culinary Institute, just before students walked in for class.

Prosecutors say she’d been planning the murder for months to collect life insurance money.

But the defense denies that, saying the couple was in love and financially stable.

Stillwater says neither his father or stepmother spoke with him about their relationship or finances, but they seemed to have a good marriage.

He worked at Crampton-Brophy catering company for a time.

And he says he spent a lot of one-on-one time with his dad. They enjoyed mushroom hunting together, and that he enjoyed being a grandpa.

“I think he was very proud, took it very seriously. I think he’s been known for a dry sense of humor. He was also very affectionate,” said Stillwater.

He said the couple started talking about selling their house the year prior to his father’s death but seemed to have different and somewhat vague plans for the future.

He didn’t believe his father wanted to sell and says his behavior changed some with a second job, less time tending to his garden, and more time watching tv.

He said at the time of his father’s murder, he was led to believe that his stepmother was home. He took the following week off to grieve and help her.

“I knew there was a lot to be done but also concerned for her well-being. At that point in time we didn’t know what had happened,” he said.

Stillwater sued Crampton-Brophy in 2019 for the wrongful death of his dad, but that lawsuit was put on hold at the request of her attorney and is still on hold now.