Nancy Brophy murder trial focuses on life insurance policies


The state continues to call witnesses. On Wednesday, the court heard from a senior detective and a life insurance adjuster.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Day seven of Nancy Brophy’s murder trial saw testimony from a key detective who worked the case.

Nancy Brophy is a Washington County-based romance novelist who is accused of shooting and killing her husband at her workplace, the Oregon Culinary Institute (OCI), in June 2018.

The prosecution continued to call witnesses on Wednesday. Darren Posey, a detective with the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), was called to the stand. In 2018, Posey was a homicide detective who took over the Brophy case until she was handed over to Detective Anthony Merrill, who has already spoken.

The defense had questioned Anthony Merrill about whether PPB had identified certain people seen in surveillance footage. Some they had, some they didn’t.

The state asked Posey on Wednesday why they were trying to locate and speak with people when working on a scene.

“We try to talk to people because they are potential witnesses. Just because they’re on video doesn’t necessarily mean they’re suspicious,” Posey said.

The defense, on cross-examination, pointed out that PPB had not interviewed anyone in the condos near the OCI, or at a nearby rehab facility.

RELATED: Surveillance Shows Matching Brophy Van in Downtown Portland Much Earlier Than Expected

The pistol

Posey, like detectives who had previously testified, noted that the gun Nancy Brophy gave to police on the day of the homicide had the slide “out of battery”. The gun slide was slightly forward, which can only be achieved by depressing the slide levers on either side of the gun and pushing it forward.

Posey demonstrated on the gun that even with a zip tie, when the gun was presented to police he could move the slide into a position where the slide levers locked as they were supposed to. The zipper in the barrel caused the slide to sit even farther back than intended, instead of forward as noted on the Brophy pistol.

Posey testified that the gun’s slide and barrel were not used in the crime. Nancy Brophy purchased a separate slide and barrel on eBay designed to fit the Glock 17 she owned. The police were never able to recover this extra slide and barrel to compare to the bullets fired at the crime scene.

Posey said he went to J&B, the company that sold Nancy Brophy the Glock 17 at the Portland gun show, and asked them to record a video on how to change a slide and barrel on a gun. He said they swapped the slide and barrel with a zip tie for one without a zip tie, which is how police alleged the crime took place.

RELATED: Detective Testifies Seeing Van Similar To Accused Murderer Nancy Brophy In Crime Scene Area On Surveillance Video


The jury also listened to a phone call from Posey to Nancy Brophy on June 6, 2018, where Brophy said her insurance company said that if the police could, they should try to get a letter saying she didn’t. was not a person of interest in the case. for the insurance to pay what she said was $40,000. She also asked Posey if they had enough information to solve the case.

Posey said he filed documents for multiple search warrants and found numerous life insurance policies for Dan Brophy.

An insurance adjuster was called to the stand, Steven Santos, who testified that the Brophys paid more than $800 a month, or 20% of their gross income at the time, on policies amounting to more than 700 $000 for Dan Brophy’s life insurance alone. . Santos said it was not tax-responsible and that if the Brophys had been his clients, they would have settled the high premium they were paying for what he considered a reasonable amount of death benefit.

He said the amount they were spending on one person and one life insurance was “inappropriate” and that he would recommend that 10-20% of a person’s gross income be allocated to all sorts of insurance for the two people of a couple.


The defense cross-examined Posey and again asked about the handling of shells found at the scene for DNA. The shells were not processed for tactile DNA, but rather for latent fingerprints.

Posey testified that at the time in 2018 he was told that DNA would not survive in this environment. With this knowledge, he had them processed by a criminalist for fingerprints. High heat, such as that caused by the explosion that occurs when a gun is fired, damages both fingerprints and DNA.

“If you thought a testing process was available to identify a subject in a homicide, wouldn’t you have used it?” The state requested during the redirect.

“I would have used that,” Posey replied.

Testimony will continue Thursday with Steve Santos’ finish. Nathaniel Stillwater, son of Dan Brophy and stepson of Nancy Brophy is expected to speak. Nancy Brophy was heard on tapes played in court saying she also considers Stillwater her son. He sued her in civil court over her father’s wrongful death in 2019.

KGW will broadcast the hearing on its website, app and YouTube page.


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