Murder Trial Day 4: Inmate testifies that Johnson confessed to murder

By KBJR News 1

May 22, 2014 Updated May 24, 2014 at 8:15 AM CST

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com)--- More witnesses took the stand today claiming that they heard Tiawain Johnson confess to shooting Toriano Cooper to death in Superior in January 20-12.

Douglas County Inmate Bradley Poverud was in jail with Tiawain Johnson in September of 2013 when he claims he overheard Johnson tell another inmate about his role in the shooting.

Poverud testified he heard Johnson talk about being robbed by Cooper, and needing to get his drugs and money back.

Poverud told the jury he overheard Johnson say two others drove him around looking for Cooper the morning of the murder and when they found him, Johnson confronted Cooper and shot him twice.

But perhaps the most interesting part of today in court was that Poverud's entire testimony was nearly thrown out by the judge due to a mistake by Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank.

The defense told the court that witness Poverud was given concessions in his burglary case if he testified.

Blank admitted that was true but said he thought his assistant county attorney had revealed that to the defense attorney.

Johnson's lawyer said that never happened and he made a motion to throw out Poverud's testimony.

Judge Kelly Thimm chastised Blank saying disclosure was his responsibility.

"Did he describe the shooting at all?" said Dan Blank.

"No just that he hit him twice," said Poverud.

"Where did he shoot him? Did he say that?" said Blank.

"No," said Poverud.

"Did he say what happened after he shot Snap?" said Blank.

"That he took off and got in the vehicle," said Poverud.

Judge Thimm eventually allowed the testimony, but ruled that the jury should be givin instructions from both the defense and prosecution advising them to consider the non-disclosure when weighing the credibility of Poverud's testimony.

Another witness, Michael Hawkins, testified that he went to Tiawain Johnson's home a few hours after the shooting of Cooper and Johnson told him he just committed his first murder.

Hawkins told the jury that Johnson said he snuck up on Cooper from behind and shot him twice when he turned around.

The defense questioned Hawkins credibility based on a plea deal he is receiving in exchange for testifying.

The defense also believes Hawkins and his brother have something to do with the shooting.

The case is moving at a slow pace, and it's possible that it could go into the holiday weekend.

The state still has a number of witnesses to call.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com

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