Slain Woman's Family Continues Fight to End Drunk-Defense Law

Mom Sherry Anicich has launched a new petition urging Wisconsin lawmakers to strike down a voluntary intoxication law.

Alisha Bromfield and her unborn daughter, Ava Lucille, died in August 2012. Credit: File photo
Alisha Bromfield and her unborn daughter, Ava Lucille, died in August 2012. Credit: File photo
PLAINFIELD, IL — In just 48 hours, the family of a murdered Plainfield woman was able to collect more than 6,300 signatures asking legislators to strike down a Wisconsin law that's allowing her accused killer to use drunkenness as a defense.

Now, Alisha Bromfield's mom, Sherry Anicich, and relatives have launched another petition as they continue their fight.

Bromfield, 21, was murdered in Door County, WI, on Aug. 19, 2012. At the time of her death, the Joliet Catholic Academy graduate was pregnant with a baby girl she planned to name Ava Lucille. 

Prosecutors allege that 36-year-old Brian Cooper strangled Bromfield in a fit of rage after she refused to rekindle a romantic relationship with him, then sexually assaulted her body. Bromfield and Cooper were in Door County for the wedding of Cooper's sister.

Last June, a Wisconsin jury found Cooper guilty on a third-degree sex assault charge, but couldn't reach a decision on two first-degree intentional homicide charges.

That's because Cooper took advantage of a Wisconsin law that allows defendants to use "voluntary intoxication" as a defense, claiming he was too drunk to form intent.

After hearing from Anicich and supporters of Bromfield's family — including Cooper's sister — members of the Judiciary Committee voted 9-0 to pass a bill that would strike down the statute.

A Senate hearing on the bill is scheduled for next week.

On a Facebook page known as the Alisha and Ava Bromfield Law Initiative, Bromfield's family is urging supporters to sign a new petition asking lawmakers to pass the bill.

"Next week there will be a senate hearing on AB780/SB637," the family shared. "This bill is to eliminate voluntary intoxication as a defense for criminal liability. We HAVE MADE A NEW PETITION. This new petition will go to the House and Senate and and the Governor. This will be the last petition. The judicial committee was very impressed last week on how we were able to get 6,300 signatures in 48 hour. we are almost there. All of our hard work and dedication to Alisha and Ava is finally here. Please sign and share this Petition. To EVERYONE you know."


It was Kellie Stryker's wedding that brought her brother and Bromfield to Door County. Last week, she urged legislators to "do the right thing" and strike down the voluntary intoxication statute.

“I’m the sister of Brian Cooper, the man who cold-heartedly murdered Alisha and her unborn daughter, Ava Bromfield,” Stryker said, according to a Green Bay Press Gazette report. “His actions have caused a rippling effect that has left a hole in the lives of the people who stand with me today.”

Stryker called Cooper's mistrial the "ultimate injustice."

Cooper is scheduled to be retried on murder charges in the deaths of Bromfield and Ava Lucille on May 5.

"I promised my daughter at her funeral that I would not stop fighting for justice," Anicich said. "Although, Alisha’s voice was silenced, I need you to communicate for my daughter and ask you to sign this new petition that will go directly to the representatives, senators and the governor. Tell them in personal emails as well that this law must be changed to bring justice to my daughter and protect other victims of such crimes. Please do not fail her and others who have suffered at the hands of those that claim intoxication as a defense."

Robert March 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Ms. Scully, I understand your position, and it is not stupid. No one who has lost a family member cares whether the person responsible meets the technical requirements of the law for a particular level of offense. You are absolutely correct that intoxication alone is no excuse for murder, and merely being drunk is not a defense. However, there is a significant and reasonable difference in the law between an intentional killing and one that is not intentional, and it is beyond rational dispute that extreme intoxication can undermine the mental facilities necessary for an act to be intentional. If a killing is not intentional, whether because it was an accident or because the person was so extremely drunk that he could not form the intent to kill, the killing is not first degree INTENTIONAL homicide. It very well may be some lesser form of criminal homicide, such as reckless homicide, for which intent is not required and intoxication thus provides no defense. Again, I understand the emotional attraction of the petition, but we really should not be unnecessarily messing with laws when the only argument in favor of doing so is bald emotion.
Ruth Paine March 12, 2014 at 11:30 PM
Hmm, interesting post.
® Steve March 13, 2014 at 02:11 AM
You say that meaningless post quite often Alek http://plainfield.patch.com/users/alek-j-hidelld5369dabaeae5983ec0f618df1c0944cfb834a3c86f06bf5df0d39a4d99c67d7
Elena Maria Scully March 22, 2014 at 05:34 PM
Cody, when you lose a loved one under the same circumstance, then I invite you to get back to me, other than that, stfu with your ignorant babbling. @ Robert, I now see what you are talking about, thank you.
® Steve March 22, 2014 at 11:48 PM
FISH are not welcome in our Capitol Elena


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