A Door County Court contingent traveled to Juneau in Dodge County Friday for jury selection in the murder trial of Brian Cooper of Plainfield, Illinois. It marked the second time a jury from outside Door County will be chosen to sit in judgment of the 37-year old man charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide in connection with the strangling death of 19-year old Alisha Bromfield, also of Plainfield, & by extension, the death of her unborn child at a southern Door County resort in August of 2012. Cooper’s first trial ended in a hung jury in June of last year. The second trial gets underway on Monday. District Attorney Ray Pelrine is again handling the prosecution, Attorney John Birdsall is in charge of the defense & Judge D. Todd Ehlers is presiding.
Prior to jury selection, Judge D. Todd Ehlers ruled on several motions related to the Cooper murder trial in Door County Circuit Court. The judge indicated that, if necessary, he would instruct the jury of a lesser included charge after the case wraps up. District Attorney Ray Pelrine asked the judge to include the instruction related to first degree reckless homicide if Defense Attorney John Birdsall successfully argued that Brian Cooper’s level of intoxication was a factor in the death of Alisha Bromfield. During the first trial, the defense argued that the Illinois man’s level of drunkenness precluded him from meeting the first degree homicide’s intent requirement. In other action, Judge Ehlers denied a prosecution motion that would have excluded testimony that Cooper was abused as a child, but limited information to that which was discussed at the first trial, denied a defense motion to exclude pictures of the victim & her child & allowed the prosecution to bring up Cooper’s sexual assault of Bromfield after she was dead. The first jury convicted him on that count.