CHICAGO (CN) - A florist supervisor strangled a pregnant young employee and then raped her corpse, the young woman's mother claims in court.
Sherry Anicich sued Home Depot, Grand Flower Growers, Grand owners John and Todd Mossel, and Vinca Solutions, on Monday in Cook County Court, on behalf of her deceased daughter Alisha Bromfield and unborn granddaughter Baby Ava Lucille.
Grand Flower supplied flowers to Home Depot.
Brian M. Cooper, 37, was sentenced in July to two life sentences for the murders, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. He was sentenced in Door County Court, Wisc.
According to the family's lawsuit, in 2006, "Alisha began working for Grand as a teenager performing merchandiser tasks providing garden services and tending to flowers, and setting up displays and price signs in Illinois Home Depot locations."
Brian Cooper, a Grand employee, was her supervisor, but Anicich says that Home Depot was in charge of the job site, and of the safety of employees working there.
"Home Depot knew or reasonably should have been aware of this pattern of misconduct and violent tendencies on its premises, since Cooper would publicly decry Alisha as a 'whore' and 'slut' and had been known to throw items at employees," the lawsuit states.
"This was an ongoing course of conduct on Cooper's part, and Alisha repeatedly complained to Grand management about Cooper's conduct, and that he was open in suggesting an intimate relationship between himself and Alisha, based upon the time he was able to be with her because of his work supervision.
"Despite these complaints, no action was taken by defendants to investigate, monitor, limit or control Brian Cooper in his interactions with Alisha. Not only were those complaints ignored, but these same persons, it is now believed, actually cooperated with in arranging for Cooper to be alone with Alisha to facilitate his continuing pattern of abuse," the mother says.
In 2012, while Alisha was pregnant with another man's child, Cooper insisted she attend his sister's wedding with him so she could meet his family, according to the complaint.
It continues: "Once there, he introduced her to various members of his family and, after the ceremony in which his sister was wed, he brought her back to the resort hotel room he had rented for him. There he continued his pattern of verbal and physical abuse, and suggested that they enter into a permanent relationship, and when she declined, he threatened her if she did not submit to him, and then, as she begged for her life and that of her unborn child, he strangled her for five minutes or more until she was dead, and thereafter, undressed her and raped her corpse.
"At the time of the foregoing, Alisha was nearly seven months pregnant, and the fetus (Baby Ava Lucille) was viable and alive, but died as a result of her mother's murder and rape."
Anicich seeks punitive damages for wrongful death.
She is represented by Kristin Barnette with Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz.