Should Being Drunk Get You Out of Murder? Family of Slain Girl Fights Wisconsin 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
By Shannon Antinori

Should being drunk be a defense for murder?

In Wisconsin, drunkenness can be used as a defense allowing defendants to use "voluntary intoxication" to argue that they were too drunk to form intent.

A Plainfield, Illinois family whose pregnant daughter was strangled is taking on the law. In June a jury found Brian Cooper, 36, guilty of  sexually assaulting Alisha Bromfield, but dead locked on two first degree intentional homicide charges.

In just 48 hours, Bromfield's family was able to collect more than 6,300 signatures asking legislators to strike down the Wisconsin law. 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, Wisconsin, on Aug. 19, 2012. At the time of her death, she was pregnant with a baby girl she planned to name Ava Lucille.

Prosecutors allege that 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.

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."


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."

matt March 31, 2014 at 02:42 PM
igor, in my opinion 21 is still a kid.
Igor March 31, 2014 at 02:54 PM
Hell matt anyone under 50 is a kid to me.I would think so if she was mine also. But if it came down to her dating this guy or me losing her, I would rather give in. Still wouldn't like it but what can you do. May I ask a question. Would you feel the same if he was a different race, religion, same sex? I'm not trying bust them on you I'm just curious.
matt March 31, 2014 at 03:09 PM
i could care whether they were purple, the age difference is too great to have anything in common. i would bet that he was real immature for his age. his mental capacity obviously not there. if it were my daughter, and i do have three of them, i wouldn't allow it. and i would rather lose her relationship and have her alive then what happened here.
Igor March 31, 2014 at 03:46 PM
Okay then it's just the age difference. There are a lot of couples with a large gap in ages and have been married for a long time. I agree I don't know what they would have in common, but I guess there is something. I wouldn't want to make my daughter choose between me or her boyfriend.
matt March 31, 2014 at 03:49 PM
i think later in life it might be different, but not 21, not enough life experience


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