State Crime and Court Roundup: Illinois man set for trial on homicide chargesWisconsin News
-- A week-long trial is scheduled to begin January 28th for an Illinois man accused of killing a woman and her unborn child in Door County.
STURGEON BAY - A week-long trial is scheduled to begin January 28th for an Illinois man accused of killing a woman and her unborn child in Door County.
35-year-old Brian Cooper pleaded innocent yesterday to two homicide charges and a count of third-degree sexual assault. His lawyer asked that the trial be moved out of Door County, due to heavy pre-trial publicity in that area. Arguments on that request will be held later this fall. Prosecutors said Cooper took 22-year-old Alisha Bromfield to a wedding, with the idea of improving his own romantic relationship. But she talked about breaking up, and Cooper responded by allegedly strangling the woman and sexually-assaulting her. That killed both Bromfield and her unborn child. Authorities said Cooper tried killing himself before he called police to turn himself in.
A Milwaukee woman will be sentenced December 14th, after being convicted of killing a pregnant mother and the baby the defendant was hoping to steal. A jury deliberated for less than two hours yesterday afternoon, before it found 34-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez guilty on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. She faces a pair of mandatory life sentences – but a judge could set a date when a supervised release could be considered. Police said Morales-Rodriguez lied to her boyfriend about being pregnant. And when it came time to have the baby, she decided to attack a pregnant woman and try to steal her fetus. 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz was the victim – and both she and her full-term unborn son died when Morales-Rodriguez tried to pull out the fetus. She plotted the attack because she could not conceive on her own, after having miscarriages in the past. Jurors saw the defendant explain the whole thing in a videotaped police interrogation. Public defender never argued that her client didn’t kill the two – but she said it was not intentional, and she asked jurors to consider a lesser conviction of reckless homicide.
A former Milwaukee County sheriff’s sergeant has admitted producing child pornography. 41-year-old Philip Wentzel will be sentenced December 21st, after he pleaded guilty in federal court to six counts of producing child porn. Prosecutors said he admitted drugging and molesting young girls, before taking sexually-explicit photos of them. Investigators said Wentzel took photos of girls age 6-to-14 at campsite he had reserved since 2008 at Campbellsport in Fond du Lac County. He then allegedly shared the images on an Internet file-sharing network. Authorities said they caught on to Wentzel last year when a search warrant was executed in Denver. Investigators said G-P-S data led them to the Campbellsport campground, and eventually to Wentzel’s cell phone and Internet I-P address. Wentzel resigned soon after he was charged in May.
Two teenagers are due in court today for the beating death of a 78-year-old woman in Sheboygan Falls. Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco said the boys are 13-or-14 years old. Police are seeking adult charges of first-degree intentional homicide – which would carry life prison sentences if the teens are convicted. Officials said a relative found the victim’s body in a pool-of-blood in the garage of her home on Wednesday afternoon. She died from blunt force trauma in what Sheboygan Falls Police Chief Steve Riffel called a “violent incident.” Riffel said the two boys targeted the woman, who lived alone. But the chief would not say what the relationship was between the suspects and the victim. Officers found several items that had been taken from the woman’s home. Riffel said the boys apparently went to the home to cause harm, but he would get specific on what led to the slaying.