Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Killer on the Line

Killer on the Line

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 07:00

A young, soon-to-be mom goes to a wedding with a friend and ends up dead. A 911 caller reports the murder and leads this case down a darker road than anyone imagined. For episode information and photos, please visit

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. I'm just wondering, in your home, do you have anything in there like photos? Pictures of Alicia. Anything like that? I mean, you do. Do you have a shrine? I like to explain at least to I know it's not right either way. What I say from here on out, I like to be honest. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Glassie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. Today's story is going to really highlight just the incredible senselessness of some of these. They're all awful and they're all tragic, but this one, no matter which way you look at it, by the end you're just going to keep asking yourself why. You know, I'm often asked which of the cases that I've been involved in or I've covered was the most evil or the most shocking, and there are elements of today's case that, for me, check those boxes. And much more. Today's story is going to focus on a young woman, Alicia Bromfield, and for her story I spoke to her mom, Sherry, and her stepdad, Joe. You know, Alicia was an easygoing child. Like, she just would always laugh at herself. She never liked, would cry like, oh, I just lost the soccer game, right. She would laugh because she said she wanted to be a part of the team. And even if she wasn't, you know, the best at it, she just liked being a part of a group of people. She had a lot of friends throughout her whole life. But she also was super close with her mom. I mean, think about it almost like the Gilmore Girls, if, you know, that show relationship. And part of that was because Sherry had Alicia when she was going from girlhood to womanhood herself. She was a young, single mom. She had Alicia when she was just 20 years old. They did right on time. And I was in labor for, like, 17 hours. And then they didn't have epidurals. Yeah, no epidurals. And I remember the nurse handing me Alicia, and I just remember us looking at each other. Our eyes met and it was just this incredible soul connection that I had with her. I can't explain it, and I knew all I had to do was love her and that everything else would be OK and it really was. And even though Joe came into picture when Alicia was just 14 months, he too said it was like best friends. They could really read each other's mind and it just talks to the closeness of the relationship between the two of them. They were connected literally at the hip. Sherry carried Alicia on her hip till. I don't know. Until about four or five years old, having Alicia at such a young age, they would be able to grow up together. Was kind of growing up we would go sledding and to buy, do the fun stuff. But you know, I also was a college student, so I did have to work. And if, you know, I had to stay up and study, she just sat right next to me and would read her books and I would read my books. You know, for all of you out there, you know, sometimes you just know that you are going to like someone when you start speaking to them. And for Joe, that moment for me was when he talked about from the moment he walked into Shari's life. And here's why. And when I met Sherry, you know, I knew she had Alicia and I took our relationship really serious because I didn't want to be someone in Alicia's life and then not be there. In 2012, Alicia was just 21 years old. She was our last year of college at Western Illinois University. Alicia worked at a retail garden center. She had started the job when she was just 16 years old, and it began just as a summer job she would do, like the watering and throwing out of the dead flowers and taking care of them. But the last chair, she became the supervisor, which meant she was in charge of telling everybody in that store to water and what to do to make the store look pretty. When Alicia's 21, she gets some very big news and it's not about her upcoming hopeful graduation. It's not about something with a new friend. I was studying and she came up, you know, sitting in the chair and she sat on the floor and she said, well if something that tell you and I looked and I knew. And I said no, and she started crying and she said yes. She too, is about to become a young mom, and so I never thought she would come to me with that. Now, remember, Sherry had been a young mom herself, and so she said that she admittedly, at that first moment, she wasn't excited. They worried about what this would do, impacting Alicia's life. When she told us we weren't jumping for joy because we knew exactly what it's like. Because Sherry raised the kid on her own. So. Renewed your life not ruined, but your life just got more difficult. And Alicia went to her room, and Joe and I went in the room. She was crying and listening to music, and we told her we loved her and I said, I don't know if this guy's going to be in your baby's life, but regardless, this baby's going to have Father figures in its life. It's got me, it's got your little brother, it's got your uncles. I said, one thing's for sure, this baby is going to know how to fish. And the family was extremely excited about it. They were preparing a nursery for a baby. They bought a crib. They even read a pregnancy book together. We put an addition on our House. So Alicia's bedroom at that time was in the addition, which had a separate bedroom, had a full bathroom. I said, it's like, you have your own apartment, you're going to be fine. And I really feel from that point on, we're really excited that the baby was coming. Within moments to hours, letting her know that at the end of the day they were there for her. And the relief that must have given to Alicia, because for Alicia, she already knew at that point that the father of her child was not going to be involved. The father of the baby at that time, you know, she was discussing with me, like, how long do you think I should give him to decide? Let's be real here. I mean, these are difficult things that people face. Just let's talk to the difficult road ahead for Alicia, no matter how excited she was. I mean, the pregnancy for her wasn't a detour from her plans. The pregnancy for her was in addition to everything that she was planning to do in her life, you know, going to school, doing psychology, forensic psychology, wanting to have a life in law enforcement. I think this was something that was part of her grand plan and something that she was so truly. Excited about, and the fact that her family was so supportive of it just made it that much more of a special moment. She had that glow. She had already bought her own crib. And like Joe said, they had a separate living space dedicated just to Alicia and her soon to be baby, who they were going to name Ava. But that addition was going to be a surprise. One weekend in August 2012, they are going to surprise Alicia with the crib already in place. But things changed. For the worse. Alicia was attending a wedding in Door County, Wisconsin, which is about four hours north of Plainfield, and it's right along Lake MI. Door County is near downtown Surgeon Bay. It's a big shipping area. They actually manufacture yachts up there. She was going to attend the wedding with a friend and her friend's sister was getting married. She had told Joe that he had asked her he didn't have anybody to go with to this wedding and that she felt bad that he didn't have anybody to go with. And she was excited to get away, to go up to Door County, to really have an opportunity, maybe to have a mini vacation before the baby was born. And Door County, for all of you that don't know. And I myself have never been there. But reading about it, it's a resort community. People from Chicago and the surrounding areas, they vacation there. It's really that weekend, summertime escape. And where they were staying at was a small resort. I think it was a family run resort, so Alicia attends the wedding and the next day, the day after the wedding. Police received a 911 phone call. That is about to upend every dream this family ever had. Later that day, on August 18th, around 4:30 in the afternoon, a police officer would drive up to Sherry and Joe's home. Someone who happened to be a family friend of theirs, and they knew very well. I just thought he was going to say hi because he patrolled our area. So I pumped, walking down the stairs and he has tears in his eyes and I knew. And I ran back up the stairs and he kept yelling at me, sharing sit down, sit down. He had the chair. And I said no, and I figured if I didn't go down the stairs and it would be true. So I finally went down the stairs. And I said what? And I said I I thought he was going to tell me she died in a car accident on the way home. And he said there's been a homicide. Yeah, like states claiming the kids ran downstairs. Sure, he was screaming. It's just I I my stomach gets in that whenever I think of that day. I mean, all of a sudden you're helpless because I don't even know what to do. Your daughter's dead in another state, and yet you're you're trying to figure out what happened, where she at? Who's got her? Do they know who did what? You know, it changed everything forever. While Sherry and Joe were reeling from the news, police had a crime scene to investigate. Based on what the 911 caller said, they were able to locate Aleshia dead, murdered in the hotel room. But you know how she went to the wedding and Door County, the hotel where she was found, was not the hotel where the rest of the bridal party was staying. That's just the first of many unusual things investigators were about to uncover. Now, as investigators entered the room, they could see a clear sign inside that hotel room of a struggle. They found some electronics in the room, and they also found cases of beer. They discover Alicia's lifeless body on the floor next to the bed. She was naked. She had obvious deep bruising around her neck, as well as defensive wounds, bruises and scrapes. There was blood on the mattress. Her body was draped in a blanket, but underneath her head, a towel. Was rolled up or some type of pillow? Now I want to see, we've talked about the fact that when a body is covered with a blanket, how significant that becomes part of the investigation. There's another piece here that that speaks to me in even deeper way. On this one, it's that her head is found on a pillow, and remember, she's not found on a bed, she's found on the floor. So the fact that someone went to lengths of probably placing her head on that pillow, and I've got to believe postmortem, based on the way that she's found, that that really goes to a deeper psychological component. In this one, they also found some things that could be used for bindings, electrical cord. A computer power cable was also on the floor, and it looked like they could have been used to bind her, but it would reveal that her hands and her legs or her feet were never bound as part of this vicious attack. They said that there was a head wound and she still was able to fight because that's my daughter. You know, I kind of look at him as a good thing in a way, because I think she fought for that baby. Those wounds are loved to me because she loved her baby so much that she fought to the very end. Just from the outset, Scott, when we look at these cases, you know, we always say the crime scene speaks to you even before you speak to actual people, witnesses, before you even get the forensic back. And when you look at this one, just that word, psychological, something stands out, whether it's someone that knew her or didn't. There seems to be more going on here than what we often find in these homicide cases. You obviously start from within the room of what's there. You look clearly, if it was a forced entry into the room, was somebody else registered to be in the room with her? And there was blood on the bed? And it looked initially because obviously the Emmy's report would be later on, that it was strangulation based on the deep bruising around her neck. So it screams a personal angry and violent attack, taking the life of that victim. And now let's go back. That 911 call. Our county 911, what is the address of your emergency? Yes, I'd like to report a murder, please. Do you know if it was today that this happened last night? Her name was Elijah. The caller, they soon learned, was a guy named Brian Cooper, and he knew Alicia because they were coworkers. He was actually her supervisor at the flower retailer, and it was his sister's wedding that they were attending in Door County. OK, do you know where her body is in the room? And the reason that he knew about Alicia's body being in the motel, as he told the 911 operator, you know who murdered her? I guess According to him, he was the one that killed her. When he called, he said he wanted to report a murder and they asked, you know, who did it. And then he said yeah. And he said it was him. This is a lot to unpack. You know, you have a 911 call not reporting a crime only, but now saying that the caller is the actual one that committed it. And having handled a lot of these type of cases, there's certainly a lot to dig into. Scott, when you hear that, what comes to mind right away? Well, I mean, clearly it is not the norm, right? That's for sure. But investigators must give it a bit of a side eye, if you will. I mean, use all the information that it brings, but realize that it may be someone who. Realizes yes, they want to turn themselves in and in some rare occasions just wants to take responsibility for the actions. In this case, it's a murder. One case in particular comes to mind for me. A grandfather quickly confessed on a 911 call to a murder that his 19 year old grandson actually committed and the thought was for the grandfather. You know, I'm old, I won't last very long in jail, but my grandson has his whole life ahead of him, so I'm just going to take responsibility for this murder. And as it turned out, the evidence did not fit the grandfather's story. It is a rare occurrence that someone would do that on a 911 call. So you have to kind of give it its due, its balance in your investigation. Well, here's the thing though about them. They usually come out in one of two ways. There's either a psychological element, you know, something deeper that has to be looked in into the person who committed it, if in fact this confession is true, or there's a relationship angle, most of the ones that I have seen and heard them in. Is, you know, people refer to them as the DV cases, the domestic violence, but there's usually a relationship element. They're not going to be the whodunnits. It's going to be the why. So right away I want to look at more about the person making that call. This was Brian Cooper, who was 36 years old. He was the manager at the Garden Center where Alicia worked, and he had been her boss supervisor since she worked there. And when I would visit her at work, sometimes he would be there and sometimes he wasn't. Because he was in charge of 14 other fire departments at different locations, he had no major criminal record and he was really willing to sit down and give a statement. And that's a perfect point to introduce the investigator in this case, investigator Winkle, from the Door County Sheriff's Department. Mark Winkle is a very soft spoken, experienced investigator, but you'd have to imagine that in Door County, Wisconsin, they don't have a tremendous amount of homicides, let alone violent crimes. As it turns out, that 911 call was made from a local gas station and investigator Winkle went to that gas station and was met by Cooper, who was fully drenched after he had attempted to die by suicide by drowning himself in a lake. They sent a police officer over to the gas station. At the same time they sent a police officer over to the resort to see if what he was saying was true, and then he was under custody ever since. So just think about that for a moment. You're the investigator. You have a call that there's a murder in a place that murders don't often occur. You have the person on the phone saying that they're the one that committed it, and he's willing to go down to the police station with you, and he not only is willing to, but he wants to talk to you. You can only imagine the alarm bells going off that this is not going to be. And I hate to use the word average case, but everything is saying that there is going to be much more here than anything that maybe he's ever heard before. We're going to play you portions of the audio of the interrogations, but we must warn you, the details are disturbing. And how do you know Alicia? We're coworkers and we're somewhat dating. What is OK? And she's pregnant. She's pregnant with your child? OK, fill me in a little bit there. I mean, there's this. Well, she has worked for me for like 6 years, so I'm looking for six years, OK? And it was strictly platonic. And then she went back to school and then we decided whatever happens, happens. And then she dated some guy and got pregnant and I didn't care, and the guy wanted nothing to do with her or the baby. In your experience, is this sound like a familiar story? I mean, it's fitting right into one of the two boxes that I said that I hear when that 911 call comes in, right? It's whether it's psychological or the relationship box. And he's right off talking about the relationship, I guess, this summer where we weren't dating. Always wanted more, but I'm always was respecting her because of her pregnancy. So you asked her to come up here for business, your sister's wedding, all right? You know, I'm wanting to know more about this weekend. So if they're not together anymore, why are they at these weddings? Is this supposed to be this, like, grand Romantic gesture that somehow went very wrong? We got into a fight. An argument at the reception before. OK. And then I was ready to go before the reception occurred. I was ready to like pack up and leave because of the argument. Watching these interrogation videos, I believe that investigator Winkle set up a very good rapport with Cooper right off the bat, and it's going to pay dividends in this case for him. OK, so you got an argument at the hotel after the ceremony but before the reception, correct? OK, what was the argument of all we got into argument about? How much time she's gonna be with the baby and everything like that. And that's what the argument was about. And then it just got out of hand, I guess. No hitting or anything like that. It ****** me off and off to start packing my bags and I told her let's go. And then she says you can't leave because of Kelly's wedding or reception, whatever. He has to go in a second. Then I said I don't care. As important as all of that is Anna Sigga the line that sticks out to me. She was trying to convince him that he couldn't leave. His own sister's wedding. To me, that shows the incredible character Alicia had. It's not her family's wedding. It's not her friend's wedding. It's his. It's his little sister's wedding, in fact. And that here, this woman who is clearly in at least an argument with this guy, is saying, hey, we have to stay because you can't do this to your sister. It wouldn't be right, and that's exactly it. But let's turn Scott to what this says about Detective Winkles approach here. He is getting information that he could confirm with other people who are at the wedding. They're talking about a fight. Did a neighbor at the hotel hear something? And I think about everything he's doing for those of you that know the domino game. Each one of those little dominoes being put precisely in a row, and I'm just waiting to see how many he's going to put up there before he takes his finger to push them all down. So when she's sleeping on the bed, where were you? I was just pacing outside and coming inside having a cigarette. Were you drinking some wine or? Yes. OK, I drink. I drink the wine after. Because I was like, I drank the whole bottle. Like after I had some bud lights after a strangler. You had the wine, right? OK, so you had some bud lights before, right? OK. How much do you think you had to drink that night at the reception? Can I ask you a question? Yeah. Were you frustrated because a, number one, she's sleeping and B, this relationship is going to end and she's still sleeping. Didn't bother her. Yeah. Like, yeah. That that is like, like, the phased her. Didn't like it, didn't care. I like it was easy for her. Just like a light switch. Turn it on, turn right. I mean, one thing that frustrates my wife the most is if we have an argument and I just roll over and go to sleep. Right? Is that right? Similar, right. OK. And then what happened? I mean, you decided? Enough. And then I laid in bed and she woke up and then I mentioned something about because we watch this TV show that I have on DVD's and we were planning on doing it this coming Sunday. And then I asked her about that and that kind of maybe, like, that's kind of what set it off, I think. OK, so you asked her about maybe watching a show on Sunday and what was her response? Like, there isn't going to be a Sunday, right? With us. And that set the trigger right. And even though Cooper's all over the place, the investigator keeps the interrogation on the rails and the train feels like it's making all of the right stops. I mean, there is an outright confession to murder. Then what did you do? And then I jumped her and she got scared. I got on top of her then yeah. And then I just started strangling her with your hands, with my hands. And what did she do? Did you fight back? She did fight back. And then she was yelling about the baby. They don't do it to me because of the baby. And she bit her finger and she bit me finger and then we rolled off the bed and then where she was laying. That's where it happened. But unfortunately it's not over yet. After she's dead. What he does to her body. Is evil. Earlier you had said you wanted something more from this relationship. Now, did you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend with her, or were you boyfriend and we weren't? You haven't had sex or anything like that. She's very attractive. I just wanted. Did you have sex with her last night? Yeah, after after I strangled her. You know, hearing what he says he did to Alicia, you know, he took her life, but then he really, in a way, tries to take her dignity, so I'm not going to dignify. Him by even talking about that, I think we've all heard more than enough, but again, now we're starting to go into where I said the 2nd Ave, the psychological component of all of this. Once you. Finished having sex with this. Try to kill myself. I try to stick a knife like a butter. All I had was a butter knife and I tried like beat through the skin and I couldn't break the skin. I think I slept. I thought I was trying to. I slept in the Whirlpool because I I was hoping, like the blood would just help me die. And then why did you fall asleep in the pool? Yeah, OK. You know, when I hear all his attempts to take his own life afterwards, what I hear as a prosecutor is poor me, poor me, poor me. He's starting to almost play the victim himself. He may say that it's he's here to turn himself in and which he is, and tell people what he did, which in a manner of speaking, he absolutely literally is. But I'm also hearing I'm really not that bad guy. You know, I I did this thing, but look, then I am caring enough to try to kill myself. Well, guess what? When people choose to die by suicide, and this is not the podcast to talk about that today, but unfortunately very often they are successful. And here a lot of this in my world as a prosecutor, what we see is a it's a bit of an act, it's an attention getter, and it's trying to show something that is not really happening because there's none of these that really go to him getting anywhere close. And what I walk out of this portion of his statement with is that. He went to sleep for hours after that. Let's talk about potential motive here, because during several of these interrogations, he talked about this relationship that he saw that he and Alicia had over the years, that they were a thing. So when the investigator was attempting to build this timeline and to understand what a potential motive could be, he needed to determine is this relationship or was this relationship for real and I guess the best people. To make that determination was to go back to Sherry and Joe and determine from them what was their understanding about this alleged relationship. To me, it seemed more like a friendship than a boss relationship. I actually never even knew his real age until Alicia passed away. I thought he was a lot younger. He acted a lot younger to them. They would bicker back and forth like a brother and a sister. I did tell her not to go to this wedding, that I thought it was wrong. She was going to this wedding with her boss, but it never was a boss situation to her because that's how he treated his employees and this being her first job, this is what she saw. It wasn't normal to me. And that's when this starts to take another turn. According to Sherry and Joe, Cooper was just her boss. There was nothing ever romantic between these two. But now you have to step back for a moment because parents aren't always in tune with their children's romantic life. So investigators hearing that they now go to Alicia's friends, ones that might be more in tune of her day-to-day, to ask them about the relationship. She was very clear with her friends that Cooper made her uncomfortable at work. That even though he made advances to want things to be more romantic, she didn't want that. In fact, she was so concerned that he would fire her at her job that she maintained this friendship, so to speak. But for her it was more professional than anything and how uncomfortable Cooper made her at work and almost in a sense had a grip over her because she was so worried about losing her job because she was pregnant. They really only work from March till August and then they do come back during the Christmas tree season I believe. And then they don't have to work again till March. So she was going to be getting paid the whole time. She probably was thinking I'm going to be able to stay home, you know, for the 1st at least six months with the baby. And so let's look at that for a moment, because here's a guy, he was 15 years older. He had been her boss for years, almost six years at that point, according to friends, not just family, they had never had a romantic relationship, but that he kind of lorded his position over her. So, you know, I'm going to go there. I'm going to go to the me too movement. You know, people have been hearing about this now for a long time, and we have different thoughts about whether it's gone too far. But we all know that it has brought to life a lot of things that have gone on for way too long. And when I hear this relationship, I look at it as yet another facet of that the employer dangling. Remember, I'm your boss and you are going to need me because you need this job, and that, no matter what he wants, just isn't right. So it was obvious to her when he invited her to his sister's wedding that by refusing to go, that may lead her down the path of dismissal at this job. So she was just trying to do the right thing for her baby. And that, in a sense, to me, makes this even more outrageous than some of the things we've even talked about. The pictures becoming crystal clear, we're not talking about relationship gone wrong, we're talking about something deeper. And so Detective Winkle sits down with Brian Cooper again. I'm just wondering, in your home, do you have anything in there like photos? Pictures of Alicia. Anything like that? I mean, you do. Do you have any secret pictures of Alyssa that you took? I like to explain. At least I know it's not right either way. What I say from here on out, I like to be honest. Do you have a shrine? So Investigator Winkle is back sitting down with Cooper, but he's starting to doubt Brian's story about this relationship that he claimed that he had with Alicia. Do you have anything in there like photos, pictures of Alicia, anything like that? I mean, you do. OK, we're getting a little obsessed. Just noticed that or someone noticed it in the hotel room. There was like a little spike camera and you have a spy camera. What's that? Just a little camera that I got because I and what's on the spy camera? I tried to hide it in the bathroom at the hotel room while she was, like, changing. A spy camera in a hotel room that they were only there overnight. Obsession? Absolutely. If there can be any more of an ick factor, this is it. It just keeps getting deeper down the lines of just absolutely depraved. But, you know, when Cooper says I've been getting a little bit obsessed, we all know, like someone who has just done what he has done and is talking about a little obsessed. We're talking a lot obsessed. This is something that. Brought from his home, this is something that he planned on using to catch Alicia naked before they even left their home 4 hours South of this hotel room, which is a prosecutor. It's such a fantastic piece of proof that there was never any actual relationship between the two of them the way that he claimed initially on. Because think about it, if you have a spy camera to catch someone naked, then, well, that's because you want to see them naked, so they are not giving that to you willingly on their own. And it just says so much about she really is just coworker, maybe friend. You know, maybe it's fitting in that he is her supervisor, but that is all that is going on in her mind between the two, and that spy camera makes that crystal clear. No. What's on that SD card? What's on the SD card? I think there's some. Maybe her going to the bathroom. How'd you get those? You know, Alicia's parents talked about that she used to go to his home to walk his dog. She would have to walk the dog because I remember one time saying, why did you have to go to his house? That's weird. And she said one of the stores was by Bloomington, which is about an hour and a half, two hours from here. So she would have to go walk the dog. And, you know, we found out later that he had spied. Cameras in that bathroom. But there's like a thing in my lower bathroom. Hmm. There's like a thing in front of the toilet. Hmm. That would have like, I drilled a hole. Hmm. Sometimes it work on remote control or motion. Or did you just activate it when you know she was coming over? Activated one? I knew she was coming over. So now we're going even deeper down the depravity mine shaft here, and I want to talk a little bit about the mindset of this guy. You know, for those of you that follow Scott and I on social, you know, we use the hashtag remember the victims a lot because that's what we're all about. And I also used the hashtag no notoriety. I don't want to give these killers any more attention than what they've already brought on themselves by their acts. But I do always want to look into the mindset where it hopefully can give us insight to hopefully learn to maybe someday prevent some of this. And we're really talking with this guy about a pathological obsession. You he really fits into the I love you so much, I have to kill you. How often do you hear the line of someone who's accused of something like this? If I can't have her, nobody will. And that's that possession type of homicide. In cases like this, when they actually go over, they jump that line to actual homicide. It's at the moment that they're triggered by a threat of breakup, whether the relationship is real or imagined in their mind. And remember, like they are fighting about some nonsense about television that day, but what she says to him is that she's not going to be friends with him anymore. She's not going to spend time with him anymore. So he has that trigger, that threat of a breakup, that in his mind he has this portrayal that they are so overcome, being the killer that the only way they can get relief in their mind is taking the object of their desires, life. And that is just playing itself in an all too real horrific scenario. For me here, and he even told the investigator that he was fearing driving back the next day with her for four hours, knowing that she was not going to want him to be in her life. The thing about strangulation is it is one of the. Most brutal forms of homicide that there is an anesthesia. I remember in one of your closing arguments in one of your homicide cases. That you stood in front of the jury and wanted to have. Silence. To let them know how long it actually takes to take the life from somebody. And to me that's a great example of how impactful that could be in explaining these cases to a jury. I put it to you all out there. You know, at some point when you're done listening to this, just do nothing and clock 2 into the three minute mark and that is how long he had to have had his hands around her neck. And there is nothing. That could be said that that is not an intentional act that goes on for that long. There's two weapons used in this homicide nasiga the defendants hands and his control over her future. I think that's a fantastic way to look at it, because you're right, he was using his position as a holdover, her as a weapon, and when Detective Winkle kept talking to him, he learned it hadn't been the first time that he'd had at least something similar in his past. Never harmed anyone else, yes. I did tie her up. Tie who up? My ex-girlfriend. And where is she? We dated for five years. We've seen so many cases where there's some type of domestic assault or even just a random assault, where the victims choose not to come forward with the victim, chooses to try to put it past them without involving law enforcement or the courts. People that don't report, they do it for all different reasons. But here what's so important? About it is it shows that this is a guy who has been thinking along these lines even before he met Alicia. It was almost like baby steps into this very depraved mindset. So going into this, you already know that. You have a 911 call where Cooper is confessing to a murder. You have hours of interrogation where he specifically goes through the motions of how he murdered Alicia. So you would imagine going in that he'd plead guilty, but in this case with a first degree murder charge, that is not what happened. As a prosecutor, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a slam dunk. And in this case, the defense had a strategy and that strategy was successful. So Cooper and his defense team would come into court with a not guilty plea, and the strategy that he would take would be something called voluntary intoxication. It's where a defendant claims that they were so drunk that they couldn't have formed any intent to kill somebody. He was trying to say that. He just remembers snippets. He was blacked out. He doesn't remember. So in time, I don't remember. He couldn't intended to do it. So it wasn't intentional homicide. That was his defense. Oh, I don't remember. I caused her death, but I don't remember. I didn't intend to do it. I'm a good guy. Know that you've seen this in your experience in the courtroom. I've had the defense actually more than once, but let's just talk about it for a moment, because when you all think about trials, you always have to remember everything is on the prosecution. The defendant normally doesn't have to do anything. You know, we have to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt. But there are certain defenses that the law calls affirmative defenses, which means that the defense actually has to prove something that then you know, the prosecution has to disprove for the jury to come back and convict and voluntary intoxication. Is one of those defenses. And we have to step back a little bit to think about what it is that the evidence was about. This guy's drinking because he had been drinking. You know, he said that he had had bud lights at the wedding and he'd had quite a bit. And then he said something about drinking a bottle of wine while he drank that bottle of wine after he strangled her. But when we talk about this defense of voluntary intoxication, it isn't an absolute defense. It doesn't mean that you walk out of the courtroom. It reduces culpability if the jury buys into it. So just think about that. You don't have to be a lawyer out there to know that this guy remembered every move he made. His system was on there to claim how, you know, he's a good guy. And then his cousin was up there and how much he's a good guy. And then the mom was up there talking about he had a learning disability, struggled through school, and then he was smoking pot and she didn't like that and he was trying to quit, but it made him agitated. I mean, he was extending, in a sense, a branch to the jury to. Feel bad for him. As it turns out, the jury decided they couldn't make a final decision. Hung jury mistrial. The hung jury meant that the jury couldn't agree, and it was 1:50. It was ten that voted for conviction and two that didn't. And I don't want to get into second guessing what those two jurors were thinking, but ultimately for Alicia's parents, that meant that they knew they had to do this all over again. Sherry never really talking about this law. This is volunteering toxication because we thought it was just garbage to begin with, that we had to change it. But I was walking my sister. I said if if we lose this case, it's because we got to change that law. So after they came out as a hung jury, Sherry and I just left. We didn't stay to talk to the DA or anything. So we laughed. We got in the car, we're driving, and we're like, what's our plan? So when we got home, we got our friends together, and we got. Some family together, and we started writing letters to all the state senators and representatives and Wisconsin. And even though Sherry was able to get that law changed, it wouldn't apply to her daughter's case because at the time of the homicide, the law was different. But that wouldn't deter her determination of making sure that she would get justice for Alicia. The first one they contact us back was representative NASS. And he said for I think over 10 years, I think it was about four attempts or 7 attempts in four years they said they could not get. A committee to pass a bill to go into the house. So he asked if we would come and speak to the House committee, if he were to get another representative to, you know, second a bill. So then we did that. We went up to the Capitol and Sherry and I spoke and my niece and brother-in-law, my sister, and they told us that there's a representative in Wisconsin that is for the underdog and he's. He's going to be difficult to get to agree to move this past committee, and after everybody spoke, he was the first one that spoke and said everybody knows me, he goes, but we wronged you and we need to fix this and it passed the House committee unanimously. This law needed to be changed so now nobody can use alcohol as a defense for cold blooded murder. And that's yet another whole twist in a victim's family's fate sometimes is that here, it wasn't going to help them and they were going to have to sit through. Now, a second trial under all the same rules as the first time around, but that trial would have a different outcome, and that jury would make a different decision. Cooper was guilty. You know, something that really stood out to me. Antigo was listening to the judge during the sentencing phase of the cases how he explained to Cooper his reasons or his rationale for handing down the sentence he was about to hand down. And I just think it's important to quote what the judge said in the early morning hours of August 19th, 2012, the lives of Alicia and her unborn child were in your hands and today the remainder of your life. Is in my hands, and moments after the judge read that in the courtroom. He sentenced Cooper to two life prison terms after being convicted of two counts of first degree murder of intentional homicide in May of 2014. You know, Sherry told us in her impact statement. There was something she wrote and it actually took her two years to craft. She said she never had the opportunity to look into her granddaughter Ava's eyes. And Ava will never have an opportunity to walk barefoot on a beach. And to me, Anna Sigga, that is so incredibly sad. I just can't. Sherry and Joe decided they wanted to continue moving Alicia's memory forward by starting a foundation to honor her. Purple project, because that was a licious favorite color. We have two missions. I like to think of one of them as kind of representing a list of the other ones representing Nava. So we help grieving parents going through this is very, you can imagine, very difficult. One thing that Sherry and I learned is being around other people, other couples that have lost a child somehow. Knowing that you're not alone helps. So we have retreats for grieving parents. We hold that and then we have other events, daily events and then also we offer counseling. And then the other mission is helping single young girls. That are pregnant for the first time. So we do fundraisers and then we provide or how to get a job, training on finances and a healthy diet for the baby and things like that. And we just bought this new home in in Oswego called the lesion at the House of Hope. It's on 4 1/2 acres. It's just beautiful here. We have monthly meetings here and every August 19th, on the day Alicia died, we have a nationally known speaker come in every year. We've had over 1000 people come to these events. If you've been a listener of anatomy murder for a while, you already know the importance to us. About honoring the victims it's not only the way we handle doing this podcast, but all of our television projects we've ever produced. It is truly our DNA. And there was a moment during your conversation and Asia with Alicia's mom. On the call. Sherry talks about the fact that another media company producing story on Alicia's case sent her photos from the crime scene. Listen to the exchange and I think you'll understand the visceral reaction that Anna Sega had. I'm still so angry about those pictures being sent to you. You have no idea. You know what? I cannot tell you how many times family members have asked me for them over the years of homicide process. And I understand why that, but I would always say no, because no good comes out of it. And while nothing's ever going to be worse than the pain of losing your child or your loved ones, you don't need that image. And I know, I know it was for the the other show that you did, but please, if you have it in you destroy them and put them in a place you'll never look at them. Again. And never let your kids see them. And you know, you know what? You're right. You're right. Because I got a sinking feeling when I looked at him. Because I feel like it's back to him again. You're right. And guess what? We're not going to give him another ounce of energy. Not. You're right. Thank you. Well, that's why today, for a reason. No coincidence. All right. I'm getting rid of him. Thank you. The only thing I'll add to that is I always want these victims families to remember their loved one as the person alive and then just keep that memory in their heart. And nothing says that more to me than purple And I urge all of you go to and check it out yourself, because that is truly giving the memory of Alicia and her soon to be daughter. They're due and exactly what Sherry and Joe will want. TuneIn next Wednesday, when we'll dissect another new case on anatomy of murder. Enemy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production summit. David is executive producer.