Victim’s mother focuses on helping others
BY JANET LUNDQUIST firstname.lastname@example.org October 10, 2013 10:26PM
Updated: November 12, 2013 6:28AM
One year after her daughter and unborn grandchild were brutally murdered, Sherry Anicich is choosing to stay positive.
It’s not easy.
Her daughter, Alisha Bromfield, was 21 when she was killed at a resort in Door County in Wisconsin in August 2012.
Brian M. Cooper of Plainfield was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Bromfield and her unborn daughter, Ava Lucille.
He was convicted of a third-degree sexual assault charge this summer, for having sex with Bromfield’s dead body, but the jury was hung on the murder charges, according to published reports.
Authorities have said Cooper and Bromfield were in Door County for his sister’s wedding and that Cooper strangled Bromfield after she rebuffed his desire for a romantic relationship.
The jury’s foreman cited the jury instruction in a published report, saying that the voluntary intoxication defense — that if they found that the defendant was so intoxicated that he didn’t intend to kill the victim, they must find him not guilty — prevented two jurors from convicting Cooper.
A second trial has been scheduled for May.
Anicich, of Plainfield, her family and friends have started a campaign to eliminate the Wisconsin state law that allows murder defendants to use voluntary intoxication as a defense.
She has the attention of Wisconsin lawmakers, who have backed her campaign and plan to introduce the amendment, according to published reports.
If Anicich succeeds in her quest, it likely would not apply to Cooper, as his case predates the change.
But Anicich said she’s OK with that, and hopes that her work will help another victim’s family in the future.
She has posted a link to an online petition supporting the law change, as well as information on the baby drive, on a website Anicich created: alishaandavabromfield.com.
Back home, though she is haunted by the loss of her daughter and granddaughter, Anicich focuses her energy on positive pursuits.
For example, newborn babies and single mothers in need will have diapers, wipes, clothing and other items, thanks to Anicich’s work to collect donations.
The second annual Alisha and Ava Lucille Memorial Baby Drive is underway. Donations will be given to programs that benefit pregnant women and babies in need, including Water Leaf Center in Aurora, Anicich said.
Items such as baby clothing, blankets, pacifiers, bottles and bibs can be donated through Nov. 15 at Kuhar Vision Care, 4970 W. Theodore in Plainfield, and Edward Jones Investments, 1132 W. Jefferson St. in Shorewood.
Gift cards may be donated to the Joliet Juniorette’s Club, P.O. Box 4055, Joliet, IL 60434. Cash donations may be given to account #1703479 at First Community Bank, 815-725-0123.
Anicich plans to hold the drive each fall, in memory of her daughter and granddaughter, who was due to be born in November.
The response to the drive gives Anicich the energy to continue, she said.
“You see the goodness of other people giving, and that helps you move on,” she said.
But her daughter’s memory is close to the surface.
“Your brain does a switch. Like, ‘She’s coming home, don’t worry,’” Anicich said, tears immediately springing to her eyes. The subconscious switch provides the will to get out of bed in the morning, she said.
Before her death, Anicich’s daughter provided what has now become Anicich’s goal.
When faced with a future as a single mother, Bromfield chose to focus on her baby instead of wallowing in depression.
“She said, ‘I can choose to be happy or I can choose to be sad. I choose to be happy,’” Anicich said.