Wisconsin was the host of the murder of Alisha Bromfield, she was a 21-year-old girl from Plainfield, IL, just outside of Chicago. She was seven months pregnant with a little girl whom she already named Ava Lucille. Alisha worked at a local Home Depot that worked well with her school schedule and she was a few months away from graduating with a degree in both Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice. Alisha was excited to become a mother, however she would not get that chance.
Alisha Bromfield had a lot going on in her life. She was 7 months pregnant, she was going to be a single mom, and she was working to support herself and her daughter at a local Home Depot. The job was great as it was seasonal, and she was laid off for the winter and paid. Alisha would also be graduating from college in a few months. For so much happening, the 21-year-old was very excited for the future especially to be a mom.
But the only problem was a 36-year-old coworker of hers named Brian Cooper. He had been Alisha’s supervisor for the past 5 years. He would often call her derogatory names like ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ and would insist she work and miss her important doctor appointments. The verbal abuse was one thing, but Brian was also known to throw things at her as well.
Alisha reported him to upper management, and nothing was ever done. Brian would tell other co-workers that Alisha was his girlfriend, but really Alisha rejected his advances many times. She was often on a friend basis with him, and he would still ask too much of her, like walking his dog.
Brian knew that Alisha was terrified of losing her job, it was her only source of income, and Brian used that to his advantage. He threatened to fire her if she didn’t attend his sister’s wedding with him as his date. She agreed but only as friends and they would have to return home the very next day.
Sherry Anicic, Alisha’s mother begged her daughter not to go. She knew about the behavior of Brian and didn’t want her daughter to go with him. But Alisha said she had no choice, and that they were staying at the same hotel and the entire wedding party, Sand Bay Beach Resort in Door County, WI.
August 18, 2012, Brian and Alisha drove the four hours to Door County. During the drive they had gotten into a fight and Alisha texted her mother that they would be coming home as the wedding party was not staying at the hotel. A few hours later Sherry received another text that they would be staying.
Alisha had finally had enough of Brian’s unwanted sexual advances, and she told him that she would go to the wedding, but when they got back home, they would no longer have any type of friendship.
During the wedding, Brian told guests that Alisha was his girlfriend. Through the cake cutting, the toasts, the dancing, Brian became more and more angry and began to have thoughts to harm Alisha.
The next morning, at a local gas station, a soaking wet stranger went up to the clerk an asked him to call 911. **The following conversation with the 911 operator and police interviews describes the murder. Proceed with caution. **
911: “You know for sure that a murder occurred?”
Brian Cooper: “Yes.”
911: “Do you know if it was today that this happened?”
Cooper: “Last night.”
911: “And did you witness it?”
911: “You witnessed it. OK. Do you know where her body is?”
Cooper: “In the room. Sands Bay Beach Resort, something like that.”
911: “Do you know who murdered her?”
Cooper: “I did.”
911: “You did. OK. Was it an accident, or were you angry, or?”
Cooper: “It was intentional.”
911: “It was intentional? OK. Well, you’re doing the right thing, I’m glad you called me.”
Cooper: “I’m a good person besides what I did last night. Alisha’s family is going to flip. Everyone is going to flip.”
Shortly after this conversation Sheriff’s deputies arrived and Brian Cooper was taken into custody. Another Investigator, Mark Winkel, went to the resort, and after locating the crime scene, he went to talk to Brian Cooper.
Winkel: “So what brought you up to Door County?”
Cooper: “It was my little sister’s wedding.”
Winkel: “And that wedding was last night?”
Cooper: “The reception, yeah.”
Winkel: “And who’d you come up with?
Winkel: “And how do you know Alisha?”
Cooper: “We’re co-workers, and we’re somewhat dating. Was. And she’s pregnant.”
Winkel: “She pregnant with your child?”
Cooper: “I’ve always wanted more but I always was respecting her because of her pregnancy.”
Cooper: “There wasn’t gonna be like a friendship after we got back.”
Brian explained that after the wedding they returned to the hotel and then things went horribly wrong.
Cooper: “We got back to the hotel, and she just went to bed, into the bed, and I was drinking.”
Winkel: “Did she fall asleep?”
Winkel: “And what was going through your mind when she was asleep?”
Cooper: “The reality was setting in that there wasn’t going to be even a friendship when we got back, which was today.”
Winkel: “And you didn’t want that to happen?”
Cooper: “I didn’t, no. And I was debating what I was doing, and I was doing some prepping on my thinking about her, harming her.”
Winkel: “OK. So you were doing some prepping, what kind of prepping?”
Cooper: “Well, I put some cords on a, I was thinking about maybe tying her up or whatever, but I didn’t, so there was some cords like underneath the bed legs. Like a cord from like a cellphone or something, I don’t remember, with a plug in it, maybe it was from my computer or I don’t remember exactly what it was. It was like a white one and a black one.”
Winkel: “Right. Were you thinking of tying her up or strangling her with that?”
Cooper: “No, I was thinking of like trying her legs.”
Winkel: “Tying her legs.”
Cooper: “But as she was sleeping, she was moving her legs, so then I just said, ‘That’s just stupid.'”
Winkel: “So when she’s sleeping on the bed, where were you?”
Cooper: “I was just pacing outside and coming inside, having a cigarette, coming back inside.”
Winkel: “She’s asleep. Were you getting more angry?”
Cooper: “I was.”
Winkel: “You were getting more angry.”
Cooper: “Maybe I wouldn’t call it angry. Maybe frustrated. Hurt, feeling hurt, and then I laid in bed.”
Winkel: “And then what happened? I mean, you decided ‘Enough.'”
Cooper: “And she woke up a little bit and then I imagined something about, ’cause we watch this TV show that I have on DVDs, um, and we were planning on doing it this coming Sunday.”
Winkel: “OK, so you asked her about maybe watching a show on Sunday, and what was her response, like ‘There isn’t gonna be a Sunday with us.'”
Cooper: “Right, right. That kinda triggered.”
Winkel: “Then what did you do?”
Cooper: “Then I kinda just jumped on her in bed.”
Winkel: “OK, was she on her back?”
Cooper: “She was. And I jumped her, and she got scared, I got scared.”
Winkel: “So were you on top of her then. And you kind of straddled over her?”
Cooper: “Yeah, and then I just started strangling her.”
Winkel: “With your hands.”
Cooper: “With my hands.”
Winkel: “And what did she do, did she fight back?”
Cooper: “She did fight back, and then she was yelling about the baby [crying] and saying, ‘Don’t do it to me,’ because of the baby. And she bit my finger, and then we rolled off the bed and then where she was laying, that’s where it happened.”
Winkel: “How long do you think you choked her?”
Cooper: “I think it happened really fast. From the bed to the floor, maybe a couple minutes.”
It was unnerving how calm Brian Cooper was confessing to the murder of one of his co-workers. As bad as the murder itself was, Brian had more to say, and his next statements showed the depths of his depravity.
Winkel: “Did you have sex with her last night?”
Cooper: “Yeah, after, after I strangled her.” (Cooper says he raped Alisha postmortem.)
Winkel: “So after she’s dead you took her clothes off and then um, she’s on the floor, right?”
Cooper: “Right. I just wanted like to see her naked I guess.”
Winkel: “OK. And then did you take your clothes off, or were you already…”
Cooper: “I just, yes I just took my pants off.”
Winkel: “How long did you have sex with her?”
Cooper: “Probably a minute or two, maybe three, tops.”
Afterwards he morbidly made a bed for his victim.
Winkel: “She had a pillow under her head.”
Cooper: “I might have done that last night.”
Winkel: “OK. And then the blanket you covered her up with, the blanket after you had sex with her.”
Brian claims he attempted to kill himself, but was obviously unsuccessful, he had fallen asleep in the bathtub and the next day, that morning, he went into the bay to try and drown himself.
Cooper: “I got into the bay and swam all the way out there and tried to drown myself, and I was panicking and couldn’t do it, and I was trying.”
Winkel: “You realized that life was still worth living.”
Winkel: “And then you got back in your car.”
Cooper: “Yep, and then I was trying to find like a gas station to call the cops.”
Winkel: “No one else is dead or anything?”
Winkel: “OK. Have you ever harmed anyone else?”
Cooper: “Yes. My ex-girlfriend. I just couldn’t get through to her, so I tied her up for the purpose of trying to like talk to her.”
Winkel: “Were you arrested for that?”
Winkel: “She didn’t report it to the police?”
What was Brian Cooper’s motive for killing Alisha Bromfield and her unborn child?
Cooper: “I felt like I didn’t want to go back home and …”
Winkel: “You didn’t want to be alone?”
Cooper: “No. It’s not going to — there’s nothing when we come back home. I didn’t want to drive six hours home and feel like doing that.”
Winkel: “So ultimately though it just got to be too much, and you strangled her?”
Winkel: “Did you mean to kill her?”
Winkel: “Yes? OK.”
At his trial, Brian plead Not Guilty to the charges. He was planning to use a Voluntary Intoxication defense, simply stating he was too drunk to know what he was doing when he killed Alisha.
During the trial, Alisha heard the details of her daughter and unborn granddaughter’s deaths. The trial also revealed Brian’s perverted obsession with Alisha. During a search, detectives found videos of Alisha in Brian’s home. She had walked his dog and would use the bathroom but didn’t know that Brian had installed a spy camera. A spy camera was also used in the resort where they had stayed. He had hid it in a trashcan, and captured her getting out of the shower, naked.
Thinking the case was an easy win, prosecutors and family were shocked when they heard the verdict. A hung jury, split 10-2.
Brian had given a detailed step by step confession and didn’t have an issue with remembering the details the next morning.
Brian Cooper had been found guilty of the third-degree sexual assault. But they didn’t know if he would ever face justice for killing Alisha and Ava.
Sherry, Alisha’s mother, was seeking justice for all the other families out there too, she began to lobby to have this defense, Voluntary Intoxication, removed from the books. And she was successful. Wisconsin and 31 other states banished it. But Brian’s next trial was grandfathered in, so he was still able to use it on his next trial.
A year later another trial commenced. In a week it went to the jury and an hour later they had a verdict. Guilty on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the murders of Alisha Bromfield and her unborn child.
Brian Cooper was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison July 24, 2014. He is currently incarcerated at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.
Be strong, make good choices, stay safe
To honor their daughter — Alisha’s parents have started an organization called the Purple Project. Each year the organization sponsors a young single mother for the entire first year of her baby’s life, giving not only financial support but also emotional support.