Probable Cause Found to File Murder Charge in Toriano Cooper Shooting

By KBJR News 1

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - A judge ruled Tuesday there is probable cause to charge Tiawain Johnson with First Degree Intentional Homicide in connection with the January 2012 murder of Toriano Cooper.

Judge Kelly Thimm ruled that the charge of first degree intentional homicide, should stand.

Johnson is accused of gunning down 35-year-old Toriano Cooper in Superior in January of 2012 while he was working on his car in his yard.

The case went cold for a year and half before Johnson was located in Chicago and charged as a suspect in the murder.

Witnesses testified in court Tuesday that Johnson- who they call "HUDY"- had told them about the murder directly after it happened and that he needed to leave town.

They say Johnson approached Cooper while he was working on his car and startled him.

Johnson then allegedly shot Cooper in the chest with a black 380 handgun and left the scene.

Investigators corroborated that story saying that two shell casings were found outside Cooper's residence matching that same handgun.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Blank is happy a suspect has been caught and says justice can now be served.

"I feel good that law enforcement hung in there and we feel lucky that certain circumstances came together where some people thought they might decide to talk because of their circumstances," said Blank.

Authorities speculate that Cooper may have been involved in a robbery of Johnson a few weeks prior to the murder.

Blank says a murder as retaliation for drug dealings in Duluth or Superior will not be tolerated.

As Johnson was being led out of the courtroom- he mouthed to Coopers friends and family that he did not do it.

Johnson's attorney Patrick O'Neil does not believe that the state has met it's burden in finding probable cause to charge his client with first degree murder.

O'Neil asked the judge to reconsider, claiming the pieces of the puzzle do not quite fit together against Johnson.

The judge disagreed and upheld the murder charge.

Johnson's next court appearance is scheduled for August 23.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati