November 28, 2014

New trial begins in intoxicated homicide case

A murder case that convinced Wisconsin lawmakers to ban “voluntary intoxication” as an allowable defense is having its second trial this week in Door County.

Testimony began Monday in the case of 37-year-old Brian Cooper of Plainfield Illinois. He’s charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and sexual assault in the raping and strangling of 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield in August of 2012, killing her and her unborn child. Authorities say Bromfield had joined Cooper at his sister’s wedding in Door County, and attacked her after she told him she was not interested in rekindling a romance.

Cooper’s first trial ended in a hung jury last year after the defense argued he was too drunk to have intended to kill Bromfield and her unborn child, using a Wisconsin law that allows voluntary intoxication to be used as a defense at trial.

The case prompted state Assembly Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater to introduce a bill that would have banned that defense from being used in homicide cases. The legislation passed and Governor Scott Walker signed it into law in April, although it will not impact the retrial because the crime occurred before the law was changed.

The re-trial is expected to last most of the week.