Murder trial gets underway in Superior

By KBJR News 1

May 19, 2014 Updated May 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com)--- The murder trial started Monday in Douglas County for a man accused of killing another man in Superior nearly two and a half years ago.

Jury selection and opening statements wrapped up late this afternoon.

Nine women and four men will decide the fate of 22–year–old Tiawain Johnson, who is charged with first degree intentional homicide for allegedly gunning down Toriano Cooper in Superior in January of 2012.

In opening statements today, Prosecutor Dan Blank said the case will take a lot of witnesses and evidence to put it together, but that it is pretty straightforward.

The prosecution laid out their theory that Cooper robbed Tiawain Johnson a few weeks prior to the murder, and that the shooting was done in revenge.

Witnesses have since come forward saying that Johnson allegedly confessed to them that he shot Cooper.

Defense Attorney Aaron Nelson said during opening statements that many of the state's witnesses are criminals, and he questioned their credibility to the jury.

Nelson also laid out the defense's theory that a third person was involved in the shooting of Cooper.

"You're gonna hear that he was upset that he started talking almost immediately about settling the score, getting revenge, having a motive to find snapper, and taking care of business," said Prosecutor Dan Blank.

"These 7 people, it's their words that the govt wants you to believe beyond a reasonable doubt and so one of the things you really need to think about is why would they say what they say?" said Aaron Nelson, Johnson's defense attorney.

Two shell casings were found by the car where Cooper was shot that belong to a 380 pistol.

Witnesses in the case claim that Cooper always carried a 380 pistol, but no murder weapon has ever been found.

The trial is expected to last all week.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati