Door County Judge D. Todd Ehlers acted on several motions during a hearing Wednesday afternoon for 36 year-old Brian Cooper, the Plainfield, Illinois man accused in the deaths of 21 year-old Alisha Bromfield, also of Plainfield, and her unborn child at a southern Door County resort last August. The judge also ruled that Cooper’s trial will begin, as scheduled, with jury selection on April 5th.
Cooper’s attorney, Shane Brabazon, requested the delay indicating the the complicated nature of his defense raised concerns about bringing witnesses from Illinois to testify. Judge Ehlers said he was unaware of any problems when the trial date was set in November. The trial date has already been delayed from the original plan to begin in January. In addition, Judge Ehlers recently granted Brabazon’s change of venue request and allowed the jury to be selected in another county and brought back to Sturgeon Bay for the week-long trial at the Justice Center, starting on April 8th.
Wednesday afternoon, the judge also took under advisement Brabazon’s request to close the courtroom while one witness was testifying, although he noted that such an action would have to be related to an extraordinary circumstance. District Attorney Ray Perline objected to the request and noted that he still had not learned the identity of the witness in question nor been given the list of other defense witnesses at this late date. Judge Ehlers ruled that Brabazon must produce his witness list for the court and prosecution Thursday.
In addition, he ruled for the defense and prosecution regarding a motion related to some of Cooper’s prior acts. Testimony about the Illinois man tying up a former girlfriend in an incident prior to the Door County homicide was excluded, but information about his secret taping of Bromfield at his home at at the resort will be allowed. Cooper is also charged with 3rd degree sexual assault.
He allegedly strangled Bromfield to death during a drunken rage after she indicated she did not want to have a relationship with him. She was 6 months pregnant at the time.