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Illinois man convicted in Wisconsin strangulation

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) — A jury in northeastern Wisconsin deliberated for less than three hours before convicting an Illinois man this week of killing a pregnant woman in 2012.

Brian M. Cooper, 37, was found guilty Friday of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, the Door County Advocate reported. He’ll face life in prison when he’s sentenced July 24, although the judge will have the option of allowing for the possibility for parole.

Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Cooper was charged with killing 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield, who was six months pregnant. She was strangled in August 2012 at a resort in Wisconsin’s Door County.

Cooper and Bromfield, who were both from Plainfield, Ill., were in Door County for the wedding of Cooper’s sister.

Cooper wasn’t the baby’s father, although Cooper and Bromfield did have a romantic relationship at one time, according to his defense attorney, John Birdsall.

Birdsall didn’t immediately return a message left at his office Saturday.

Cooper did not react visibly when the guilty verdicts were read. But the victim’s family could be heard cheering in the room set aside for them at the courthouse.

Tears streamed down Sherry Anicich’s face as she talked about her daughter’s death and expressed gratitude for prosecutor Raymond Pelrine.

“Oh God, that we can finally grieve our daughter,” Anicich said, sobbing. “I’m so happy Ray never gave up. We are so happy Ray never gave up.”

Jim Heisner, Bromfield’s father, said he was pleased with the jury’s verdict.

“He’s going where he belongs — to jail. Hopefully the judge says life,” Heisner said.

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

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

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