It’s a rarity for a jury in Door County to hear a murder trial, it’s even more rare for a jury to find itself incapable of coming to a verdict, but such was the case Saturday. After more than 14 hours of trying, the 12-person jury selected in Wood County could not come to a consensus in the murder trial of Brian Cooper, the 36 year-old Plainfield, Illinois man charged with 2 counts of first degree intentional homicide in the strangling death of 21 year-old Alisha Bromfield, also of Plainfield, and, by extension, the death of her unborn child. The jury did agree that Cooper was guilty of the companion charge of third degree sexual assault.
District Attorney Ray Pelrine told WDOR News that the sexual assault verdict stands, but elements of that charge will be including in the new court case which will be mounted in October. Pelrine would not speculate on the circumstances that caused the jury to reach the conclusion that further deliberations were fruitless. However, he noted that their final vote was ten to two and notes passed to the judge indicated that one juror was not even participating in the ongoing discussions. Where the new jury will be chosen from remains to be seen. There are indications that Judge D. Todd Ehlers may be disinclined to use the jury pool in Wood County again for the second go-around. In the meantime, Brian Cooper remains where he has been since August of last year; a cell at the Door County Jail.