In August of 2012, a pregnant twenty one year old named Alisha Bromfield was travelling with Brian Cooper, who is now thirty-seven. When Bromfield refused to resume a romantic relationship with him, Cooper, in a rage apparently blinded by intoxication, sexually assaulted Bromfield and strangled her to death. Cooper acknowledged to the police shortly after the crime was committed that he did kill her. However, when it was time for the trial, Cooper pled innocent under a Drunk-Defense Law, which allows defendants to claim they were too drunk to form intent. An article recently completed by the Plainfield Patch summarizes the struggle Bromfield’s family has gone through to eliminate the Drunk-Defense and allow for a fair trial for Bromfield’s murderer.
Sherry Anicich, mother of Bromfeild, and other family members have worked tirelessly to raise awareness for the trial and the injustices it resulted in for Cooper. In their efforts, they have found thousands of supporters in overturning the Drunk-Defense Law. Two of Anicich’s biggest means of challenging the exiting Drunk-Defense law were the initiation of an online petition; she also provided testimony before the Wisconsin legislature to persuade them against the existing legislation. Her efforts have paid off, as Governor Scott Walker recently signed Assembly Bill 780—a new law that eliminates drunkenness as a defense for accused criminals.
In his original trial, a jury found Cooper guilty on the charge of third degree sexual assault. However, they could not decide on the two counts of first-degree intentional homicide charge, based solely on the Drunk-Defense Law. With the introduction of this bill, Cooper will face a new trail, which is set to start on the second of May.