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Retrial starts for man in pregnant woman’s killing

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) — A retrial began Monday for an Illinois man charged with killing a 21-year-old woman and her fetus at a resort in Wisconsin’s Door County.

Brian Cooper, 37, of Plainfield, Illinois, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the strangulation of 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield and death of her fetus in August 2012. A mistrial was declared when Cooper’s first trial ended in a hung jury last year.

In opening statements Monday, prosecutor Raymond Pelrine told jurors that Cooper was in love with Bromfield and that, “If he couldn’t have her, no one could.”

Cooper was Bromfield’s boss and had known her since she was about 15 years old, Pelrine said. He told jurors that the defendant killed then sexually assaulted Bromfield and noted that Cooper had hidden spy cameras in his Plainfield home and in the bathroom of the room they shared at the resort.

“Two lives literally were snuffed out by the defendant,” Pelrine said.

Defense attorney John Birdsall countered that although Cooper was not the baby’s father, the two did have a romantic relationship at one time, the Door County Advocate reported.

“Even the time when they weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they were very close friends,” Birdsall told jurors.

The relationship cooled after Bromfield left to attend college. While away at school Bromfield became pregnant, returning home after the baby’s father rejected her, Birdsall said.

Bromfield, who also was from Plainfield, accompanied Cooper to attend his sister’s wedding on the peninsula that weekend.

The retrial is expected to last most of the week.

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