Skip to content

Teen admitted to friend he stabbed 17-year-old girl, witness testifies

Sixteen years old at the time, accused is on trial for attempted murder in connection with a knife attack that occurred on an Elliot Lake street in 2021
sault ste marie courthouse
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. David Helwig/SooToday

A friend of a young man accused of stabbing a girl three years ago in Elliot Lake says he admitted attacking her when they spoke on the night of the alleged assault.

Cooper Morano told jurors he talked with the accused at his home after he returned from walking the 17-year-old complainant home on March 11, 2021.

"He was acting a little strange," the 26-year-old testified, as the trial continued at the Sault Ste. Marie courthouse.

"He showed me a knife and told me he had stabbed her," Morano said. "I was frozen in fear."

The Crown witness described the knife, which he said had blood on it, as a black-handled kitchen knife with silver dots.

The now 18-year-old accused has pleaded not guilty to three charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault in connection with the attack that left the victim with life-threatening injuries.

He also faces a charge of sexual assault stemming from incidents alleged to have occurred between Jan.1 and March 11 of that year.

The teen, who was 16 at the time of the alleged offences, can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A court-ordered publication ban also prohibits reporting information that may identify the victim.

Morano said police contacted him a day or two after the attack, asking him to come to the Ontario Provincial Police Detachment in Elliot Lake to give a statement.

"Were you honest at that time about what [the accused] said?" assistant Crown attorney Robert Skeggs asked the witness.

Morano admitted he wasn't honest — and ended up being charged, along with a 17-year-old, with conspiracy to commit murder, accessory after the fact and obstructing police. 

Jurors heard the witness pleaded guilty to perjury in connection with what he told the cops, as well as theft over $5,000 stemming from an unrelated incident. 

He received a 12-month conditional sentence, plus one-year probation, for those offences.

"Are you being truthful to this jury today about what he said and you heard," the prosecutor asked.

"Yes, I am," Morano insisted, also indicating that his friend didn't appear to be under the influence of anything that night.

"I believe later that night the knife was back in the knife block" in the kitchen,  "because the block was full so I knew where it came from."

Morano said his friend had twice talked about getting rid of the girl, but "I thought it was a joke."

The accused was among a group of friends, which also included a Texas woman, they knew as "Vendetta," who played online games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Among Us.

"To my knowledge V" and the defendant were "romantically involved," Morano told Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio and the jury.

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Eric McCooeye, the witness said he was terrified of his friend.

"You remained deathly afraid of him" and "this weighed on you until you were arrested?" the defence lawyer asked.

Morano agreed.

The six-foot-seven witness, who indicated his weight at the time was 250 pounds, denied he had told the teen that he was an enforcer, and that he is known to be a liar. 

Noting his client was younger and not as big as Morano, McCooeye queried "he's the one you're afraid of?" to which the man replied yes.

During their conversation that night, the accused said "something about being high and something about fighting a dragon."

He indicated that he had used magic mushrooms, Morano said.

His friend pulled the knife out of his sleeve by the handle and "showed it to me."

The witness indicated he didn't see any blood on the teen or his clothes.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
Read more