The world is frequently confronted by a series of varied events. Some are pleasant and mixed with a bit of an adventure, and some others are entirely horrific. The case of Alisha Bromfield is one of the most unfortunate yet horrific events one could ever think of. It remains one of the rather disheartening realities of our present-day existence.
This young girl’s experience sparked various debates and spurred law changes in up to 32 states in the United States. The media might have had their fill of this story, yet it remains rather unfortunate that anyone has to be shown such a level of cruelty. The world is an unpredictable stage, and here is an example of a story that demonstrates that.
An Unfair Life
Life was unfair and certainly did not do right by Alisha Bromfield. However, she chose to be happy amidst all the difficulties. As a baby, she fought hard for her life against meningitis. After three weeks of this health battle, she survived and returned home with her mother, Sherry. That was when their lives together began.
However, even though she tried as hard as possible, she lost her dear life to her boss’s obsession and intimidation. Sadly, the 21-year-old who was expecting her child gave up the baton for life’s race without getting to see and hold the child she was carrying
Her Early Days
Alisha grew up with her mother and grandmother very much involved in her life. She grew so fond of her grandmother that when she died, Alisha was quite devastated. This is not to say that she didn’t have other family members involved in her life. She grew up with a big, extended family to look out for her.
She was also a lover of music boxes and TV. She would sit enthusiastically in front of the TV, watching each scene unfold with awe and wonder. When she got the news that her mother was getting married to Joe, she was happy and eager for the family to grow. She loved and cared for her siblings and the entire family.
The Origin of the Murder Story
Alisha Bromfield was a 21-year-old expectant mother who Brian Cooper murdered on August 18th, 2012. A few hours before this horrific incident, Alisha had attended a wedding alongside the murderer. At Brian’s sister’s wedding, Alisha and Brian were observed to have taken a photograph before he savagely murdered the deceased inside the hotel room they shared in Door County, Wisconsin.
The reason why someone would decide to kill Alisha, who was described as a cheery, lively, and kind-hearted individual, is still very much unexplainable. Alisha Bromfield, who spread joy wherever she went, was quite close to her family and was very popular.
Their Pre-Existing Relationship
While Brian and Alisha were not a couple, the pair were noticed to have had some form of pre-existing relationship and had been significantly close. But that didn’t stop him from carrying out the gruesome act. Brian was Alisha’s boss at Home Depot, where they had worked in Plainfield, Illinois.
According to Alisha’s mother, Brian had immediately liked Alisha when she began to work for him, and the two struck up a casual friendship. It was evident that Brian was looking for more than just a casual relationship. He had probably had some other interest in Alisha, which he kept silent about.
The Boss Obsession
Alisha Bromfield had been working at Home Depot for five years under Brian’s supervision. However, through these years, Brian had always been obsessed with Alisha. He constantly made advances on her and even invited her to go on dates with him. On the other hand, Alisha saw Brian more as her supervisor and rejected his advances and offers.
It was surprising that Brian’s obsession with Alisha did not die a natural death when he found out she was pregnant with another man’s baby. Instead, he continued to chase her and intimidate her into becoming his girlfriend. The extent of his obsession with her and many other female colleagues was revealed after Alisha’s death when he confessed that he had tied up one of his ex-girlfriends because he wanted to talk with her. She was unavailable and busy before that.
Intimidation and Abuse at Home Depot
Like a little sore that grows to become a big wound, Brian Cooper’s obsession with Alisha Bromfield became abusive. He found numerous ways and times to intimidate her at work. He began to mistreat her. He would speak harshly and unprofessionally to her. He called her names like “slut” and “whore” around the office. He would also throw objects at her.
Unfortunately, these abusive acts did not stop even when Alisha reported the case to the top management at Home Depot. Nothing was ever done to curb these excessive and obsessive behaviors displayed by her supervisor. He would force her to work unexpectedly, even at a moment’s notice.
While Alisha kept her relationship with Brian as casual as possible, Brian was telling others at work that they were dating. Alisha’s mother has restated that Alisha was in no way romantically attracted nor interested in Brian and that whatever relationship she held with him was only to preserve her position at work.
Alisha’s friends had also confirmed that the two had never gone out on a date. The only time she honored his request to go on a date was when she ended up being his date to his sister’s wedding in Door County, which is around six hours away from Plainfield. This mistake cost her dearly.
The Wedding Trip
Before the incident, Alisha had informed her friends about Brian’s request to accompany him to his sister’s wedding. She wasn’t interested in the journey and expressed she was not ready to go. However, when they asked her why she agreed to be his date, she replied, “I have to keep this job, I need it.”
That statement was born out of a need for her to keep the job at all costs. Getting on Brian’s wrong side might mean she would lose her job, and Alisha was terrified of losing her only source of income. This led to her arrival at the wedding in Door County with the pathetic Brian Cooper.
Happenings at the Wedding
Alisha and Brian were seen arriving at the wedding. Things were going on quite well with the duo until they got into an argument that resulted in Alisha ultimately deciding to end her presumed friendship with him. While she still agreed to act as his date for the evening at the wedding, she insisted that their friendship would be over once they returned.
The argument had enraged Brian, but he was more incensed at the thought of her not being in his life anymore. That had led to some built-up anger, which grew as he gradually became more intoxicated at the wedding. They eventually left the wedding, but what ensued after wasn’t very attractive.
Away from the argument at the wedding, they both had to return to their hotel and were lying in their respective beds when Brian attempted to make some date plans with Alisha for that coming Sunday. Still probably annoyed over the last argument, she reminded him that they were no longer friends once they returned home.
This statement angered the already intoxicated Brian, and he snapped, attacking Alisha on her bed. A definite struggle ensued after that, and this ended with Brian strangling Alisha, killing both her and her unborn baby in the process. Brian was noticed on a security camera hours later in a gas station where he had used the clerk’s phone to call 911 and turn himself in.
Alisha Bromfield was six and a half months pregnant when, unfortunately, Brian Cooper killed her. The expectant mother was a loving friend and daughter and was regarded as loveable, but she wasn’t without her challenges. Alisha was going to be a single mother, and that meant she needed to retain her job.
Alisha’s mother had stated that her daughter was really so, so excited about being a mother and had even planned to name her baby “Ava Lucille.” The father of the child was someone Alisha had met in college, and somehow he was not interested in the child’s birth. But even at that, Alisha was better than fine.
An Awesome Personality
Friends and family loved Alisha Bromfield. She had a strong will and determination to create her path and take the lane of success. She was never the one to follow others. Instead, she had a mind of her own to steer her life. She was an independent woman and wasn’t afraid to stand firm in her decisions and choices.
She was a happy soul who always saw the good and positive sides of things. Her friendly aura drew people to her. At that time, she said to her mother, “I can choose to be happy, and I can choose to be upset. I choose to be happy.” Even when she found out she was pregnant, and the father did not want anything to do with the child, she decided to choose happiness and stay positive for her child.
A Quest for a Better Life
Alisha’s story is more or less like the case of every regular American looking forward to a better future who didn’t deserve to die prematurely. The deceased, who was still in college, was one semester away from achieving her aim of graduating with a degree in forensic psychology and criminal justice. The job she held on to was the same one she had had she was 16.
Working in the garden department of a major national retail store had its bad sides, but, according to Olivia Hogan, Alisha’s best friend, “She had always wanted to be good at her job, and so she worked hard to do well.” No individual should have such an end, and certainly not Alisha Bromfield.
Casual Friendship Turned Horrific
A few individuals who had met with Brian Cooper personally before the incident had had a few good words about him. For example, Alisha’s friend Olivia had claimed he was very friendly, and she had gotten a job from him too. The quality of work Alisha had been doing did not go unnoticed by her 36-year-old boss.
While the affable supervisor had seemed to like Alisha, and the two were able to strike up a casual relationship, Alisha’s best friend has been quick to point out that it wasn’t beyond that. Alisha’s presence around her much older boss was more of self-preservation, as explained earlier. How this friendship turned to horror is quite difficult to comprehend.
The Trip to Door County
To Alisha’s loved ones, it is still quite challenging to understand why she chose to follow Brian to the idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is a rural area that is right along Lake Michigan. It is a popular location for people who live in Chicago, just a few-hour drive away, a place where they could rent cabins, go fishing, and even host people for weddings, but not a convenient spot for people from Plainfield.
The decision to follow him out of town to the August wedding, which was four hours away, was believed to be born out of fear of losing her job. Her mother significantly believed it was due to the baby coming, and the offer of time off during the winter, with pay, was why she needed to hold on to the job.
Disheartening Tales From Far-Away Door County
In the morning of August 18th, 2012, just a few hours before the wedding, Alisha had called her mother from Door County, informing her they were packing their bags to leave. This was somewhat unexpected, as the wedding hadn’t commenced, and Brian was to walk his sister down the aisle. Her mother had inquired why they tend to leave so soon. Alisha had replied, “We got into a fight.”
A few hours later, she texted her mother, saying that they were staying and all was now fine. Both were seen to have attended the wedding. Brian walked his sister down the aisle at the intimate outdoor ceremony, and then they celebrated the newlyweds at the reception. All seemed just fine, but a few hours after all of this, Alisha was confirmed dead, murdered by the same man she had attended the wedding with a couple of hours ago.
The Final and Brutally Disturbing Act
Brian Cooper was, at this point, devoid of emotions as he mercilessly strangled and drained the life out of Alisha. The journey towards the path of destiny and creating a bright future was cut short by this man’s greed and obsession. This pregnant 21-year-old with great dreams for herself, her child, and her entire family lost her life to a man’s inability to accept “no” as an answer.
She could not go back home to see the lovely smiles on the faces of her friends and family. The final, brutally disturbing act after this murder happened. This act was indeed hideous and terrible. Brian had what he wanted all year long with Alisha’s lifeless body. He stripped her of her clothing to “see her naked.” He raped her postmortem.
Brian was caught on a gas station surveillance video the next day as he walked up the counter not to make a purchase but rather to make a horrific confession. In his sopping, wet clothes, he confessed in chilling detail what transpired between him and Alisha the previous night that led to her unfortunate death.
The convenience store clerk called 911 after he walked into the store and said he needed to report an emergency. Brian explained what he had done for the next few seconds, and some moments later, the Door County Sheriff’s deputies were seen arriving at the gas station.
Not Much of a Friendship
Cooper’s confession and possible arrest were rightly some steps in the right direction, but he began to clam up and made wrong assertions after a while. In his conversation with Door County Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Winkel, Brian mentioned that he was somewhat dating Alisha, but there was never even much of a friendship, to begin with.
Alisha’s friend Olivia Hogan had claimed that Brian’s relationship with her friend was more of a force to do things rather than a cordial relationship. He was known to compel Alisha to do several of his biddings and make her come to work even when she had a doctor’s appointment. He also did a lot of name-callings. Alisha’s mother, Sherry, said, “Alisha had told me he had called her a whore and a slut at work.”
From the confessions Brian made to Investigator Mark Winkel, it was clear that he had the murder was foreplanned. According to him, Alisha had fallen asleep after they got back to their hotel room, but the reality that there wasn’t even a friendship between them when they got back to Plainfield didn’t make it possible for him to get some sleep; instead made him restless.
He had initially started drinking, after which he began debating and doing some prepping in his mind about possible ways to harm her. He had thought about using some cords to tie her legs down while pacing outside and coming inside with a cigarette. Alisha eventually woke up in between it all before he eventually jumped on her in bed.
While it remains unimaginable the kind of gore pictured in the mind of Brian while he was alone with Alisha in the room, the eventual results show it was indeed horrific. Although Brian Cooper succeeded in squeezing the life out of Alisha and her unborn baby by strangling them, he was also monstrous enough to share the actual details of the act.
He not only shared the details of how he killed her, but he also shared details of how he took off her clothes after she died, just to see her naked. Horrible. This act remains one of the most horrifying actions ever displayed by a human, but that’s not the end. Cooper also shared details of how he raped Alisha postmortem.
After he was done with this terrible act, Brian confessed to having morbidly made a bed for his victim by placing a blanket over her dead body and putting a pillow under her head. He couldn’t stay by her side to see what his stupid act had caused. He didn’t dare to feel her pain. He slept in the bathtub.
Out of guilt, Brian made several attempts to kill himself. First, he intended to end his life with a dull knife and then a corkscrew, but neither of them worked. He drove to a nearby park the following day and attempted to drown himself but could not go through with the act. He had realized his life was still worth living, and instead, he called 911.
Brian Cooper, who was obsessed with Alisha Bromfield and was responsible for her unfortunate end, claimed he wanted to see what her naked body would look like, and that was the reason he had taken off her clothes and raped her postmortem. Further evidence shows that the incident at the hotel room was not the only time he had been obsessed with her body. He had been secretly watching Alisha.
This unauthorized surveillance started a while back. He planted some cameras in the toilet of his home and watched her using the toilet. He also planted some cameras in the bathroom garbage bin of the hotel. He recorded her coming out of the shower naked. He had several videotapes of her naked. He was always watching and recording her whenever he had the opportunity to do so. This evidence was given to the police after he turned himself in for arrest.
Breaking the News to the Family
The murder of Alisha Bromfield is an unfortunate event that remains difficult to think about. But what was more difficult than Brian’s murderous reasons for choosing to kill this pleasant personality was how to break this tragic loss to the deceased’s family. A police friend of Alisha’s mother, Sherry Anicich, was eventually given the task of delivering this devastating news.
“When he approached me that day, he had tears in eyes, and that was the second I knew Alisha was gone,” Sherry had said. “What I thought was that he was going to tell me was that Alisha died in a car accident on their way home, rather he had said there had been a homicide,” she had added. “I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t. My life changed forever from that day”.
Despite Brian Cooper’s very detailed confession during his call to 911 and in his conversation with Door County Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Winkel, he shockingly pleaded not guilty at the trial. In his defense, he claimed voluntary intoxication, saying he was too drunk that night to know what he was doing.
He testified about his state of mind that night and how much alcohol he had at the trial. Although the jury heard that Brian was too drunk to know what he was doing, they listened to the 911 call he made. The prosecution made an argument that the claim of intoxication was incorrect because if he was, indeed, too drunk as he claimed, he wouldn’t have been able to narrate every detail of that night as he did to the police.
More Shocking Revelations
The police discovered more incriminating evidence of Brian’s perverted obsession with Alisha Bromfield, which the prosecution revealed in court with further investigation into the case. In the search for Cooper’s home and laptop computer, the police found multiple videos of Alisha, which Brian had shot at his home in Plainfield, Illinois.
What is more shocking is that he had installed hidden cameras in his home by drilling small holes in the shelf positioned in front of the toilet. Alisha, who had visited Brian’s house multiple times when he had asked her to take his dog out for walks, wasn’t aware of the camera, and he had recorded her multiple times without her knowledge.
Not a Coincidence
It would have been fair to say it was his home, and he probably had installed the camera for multiple reasons, but the police had also found one such camera in their hotel room in Door County. Brian also brought one of those cameras with him to Wisconsin and hid it in the trash can in the bathroom.
Footage recovered from the camera showed Alisha getting out of the shower naked. “He was able to capture her getting out of the shower naked, which is so disgusting,” Sherry said. This evidence was concrete enough to understand the extent of the perverted obsession he had with Alisha.
Brian Cooper, who strangled, then sexually assaulted Alisha Bromfield after refusing to rekindle any romantic relationship with him, was booked. His injuries were photographed across the state line in Illinois. He was subsequently charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and third-degree sexual assault of a corpse.
Ana Babcock, who was Brian’s latest attorney, had argued during the case that the hearing should be closed to the public, except, of course, to the Bromfield and Cooper families. Her reason for this was because the Door Country Advocate, during the hearing, had announced plans to live-tweet the proceedings. Judge D. Todd Ehlers denied this motion.
It took five days of testimony before the case eventually went to the jury. The verdict from the hung jury was split 10 to 2. Alisha’s mother, Sherry, who had been disgusted and devastated by this outcome, commented, “I was so devastated that I walked out of the courtroom as soon as they had announced the hung jury.” “What made it even more shocking was that they were women,” she added.
The jury was hung because two women had said Brian was not guilty just because they felt he had been intoxicated. Sherry has defined the act of these women as “mind-boggling,” and the Door County Sheriff’s investigator, Mark Winkel, has referred to it as “a punch in the gut.” “To me, this action is a slam dunk. We had a crime, a defendant who confessed, evidence that matched his confession, and that confession was videotaped. It was played in front of the jury.”
Second Trial Verdict
While the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict concerning the two counts of first-degree intentional homicide leveled against Brian, they were able to find him guilty of the third-degree sexual assault charge. A mistrial was subsequently declared, and Brian faced a second trial concerning the intentional homicide charges.
At the second trial, Brian was found guilty of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the murder of Alisha and her baby and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison. It was a relief that Alisha and her baby were finally getting something close to justice for the harm inflicted by this pervert, but the case was far from over.
Alisha’s Mother’s Personal Mission
The jury’s decision on the first verdict gave the American justice system a massive scare, and something needed to be done. Alisha’s mother, Sherry, who was so enraged that the jury couldn’t get justice for her daughter and reach a verdict at the first trial, was determined to have the law changed.
Not ready to take the injustice lying down, Alisha’s mother took up a mission of her own and was quoted as saying, “Never again did I want any parent, friend, or family to sit in a courtroom and hear alcohol being excused for anything.” The very next day, after the first trial, she organized a meeting with all of Alisha’s friends and family, and that’s when they started lobbying for a change in the law.
A Push for Change
It was not enough for Sherry Anicich to want justice and a change in the law. She took the tragedy of losing her child and channeled all that energy into a campaign to convince lawmakers to have this absurd law removed from use in Wisconsin.
This hard work eventually paid off for Sherry. In an unbelievable feat, she got the voluntary intoxication law banished from the books in Wisconsin, which followed in 31 other states. “I really can’t say how she did it. I don’t know where she found the strength. I don’t know how I would have gotten out of bed every morning after suffering such a loss, and yet she did it,” said Mark Winkel.
Although Brian Cooper and his defense counsel were able to have the jury hung in the first trial on the motion of voluntary intoxication, Alisha’s mother, with the support of family and friends, was keen on making it impossible for him to use that as his defense again in the second trial.
Even if he did, they made sure that yet another jury would not buy into that plea by increasing public awareness of this ridiculous law. Trial number two occurred almost a year later, and this plea was sure to be discarded. Jurors heard testimony from Brian Cooper, describing how intoxicated he was or wasn’t when he killed Alisha. But this time, they were sure to give a verdict.
The Defining Moment
Within an hour of the second trial jury, Brian Cooper was served justice. He was found beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty of the 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.
Describing this defining yet touching moment, Sherry Anicich said she cried for about 30 minutes. “I couldn’t even stand up as I was shaking where I was. I am just happy that this man will never, never be able to hurt anyone again.” Although Alisha Bromfield and her mother got justice through the incredible heartbreak, Sherry Anicich wants others to learn from their tragedy.
While it disappointed Sherry that her daughter had to pay for the ills of one perverted man, she wants others to learn from the unfortunate experience and speak up when needed. Sherry Anicich went on to say, “How I wish that Brian’s ex-girlfriend would have pressed charges against him because maybe he could have gotten the help that he needed then at that time.”
“Stand up and make a difference. You would be helping another family not go through the pain and the nightmare that our family is going through right now.” She added. At the trial, the prosecutors were able to prove that Brian had a sick obsession with Alisha. Brian’s defense attorneys could not deny this, but it would have helped if this behavior had been curbed before the unfortunate incident.
Neglect of Responsibility
After the criminal trial was over, and Brian had got the life prison sentence he deserved, Sherry Anicich didn’t stop but instead later brought a civil action against Alisha’s employers. According to her, she believed that Brian was not the only one responsible for her daughter’s death.
In her description, she alleges that Alisha’s employer, Home Depot, also held some responsibility which they neglected. They were both Alisha’s employers and Brian’s. Therefore, they had a responsibility towards Alisha to protect her from another employee, a duty that they had failed to uphold.
A Case Against Home Depot
Sherry Anicich, who was acting as the administrator of the estates of Alisha and her unborn daughter, sued Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., Grand Service, LLC, and Grand Flower Growers, Inc., for Alisha’s wrongful death. The reason behind this was that all three corporations had jointly employed Brian Cooper as a regional manager.
Her arguments against the three corporations were based on the allegations that they employed an individual who had a well-known history of verbally abusing, sexually harassing, and physically intimidating his female subordinates. The prosecution alleged that the organization had failed to protect its female employees and respond to their numerous complaints.
The Crux of the Case
Alisha had told Sherry several times about the form of treatment she had received at work from Brian. It was surprising that they never made any decision about the complaints. What was even more surprising was that Alisha was not the only one who had been harassed at work by Brian. Other female employees also made similar complaints.
The main crux of the case argument was that Sherry believed that Brian had been grossly misusing his supervisory authority to intimidate employees. He had used that to compel Alisha to go on a personal trip with him to his sister’s wedding. She believed Alisha would not have chosen to go on the trip if she hadn’t been compelled to do so, if not for fear of repercussions.
The Companies’ Defense
In defense of the charges, the three companies argued they had no duty to control Brian’s behavior outside of the workplace. Alisha’s murder had happened on a personal trip and not on the work premises. The District Court was seen to agree with the three companies, but that ruling didn’t last for long.
The initial court decision was appealed and reversed. That was because the court had varied testimony about Brian’s history of harassing female employees. There was a girl named Jessica whom Brian had fixated on, but he only moved his attention to Alisha when she quit the job. Jessica had confirmed that he had made comments about his genitals to her and rubbed up against her.