SANTA CRUZ -- A woman who was friends with murder defendant Michael Neal Miller testified Thursday during a preliminary hearing that while hanging out with him just a day before Dominic Mower was killed, he told her planned to kill the victim.

Sabrina Roesner, who was friends with both Miller and Mower, said she was at a motel with Miller in July when he told her he was frustrated with Mower and was going to "shoot him," and that he was going to kill him. She said he didn't tell when or how he planned to do this.

Roesner said she didn't think Miller, 34, was serious, but he seemed angry. He told her that Mower had stolen money from him and he planned to take back what was rightfully his. She testified that she saw him shoot heroin several times during the night they spent at the hotel.

Public defender Mark Briscoe objected to Roesner's testimony that Miller seemed like he had a set plan in mind for killing Mower, arguing that she shouldn't be allowed to speculate about what the defendant was thinking. Judge Ariadne Symons allowed the testimony, saying it pertained to Roesner's perception of the situation.

Mower, 37, was shot in the head at a mixed-use building on Prospect Street in Watsonville in the early morning hours of July 25. His 22-year-old girlfriend also was shot but she survived her injuries and later identified Miller as the shooter in a photo lineup.

Prosecutor Johanna Schonfield has said that Miller and Mower had stolen a large quantity of gold together and Miller apparently felt he had been ripped off somehow, or hadn't gotten his fair share of the money from it.

Briscoe questioned Roesner about whether she believed Miller meant what he said about killing Mower.

"You didn't really believe him, right" he asked. "You hadn't ever seen him act aggressively, right?"

Roesner said that was true, but said she didn't remember telling detectives previously that she'd seen Miller get beaten up several times before, which Briscoe said was part of what she previously told police.

Roesner was nervous and frustrated on the stand, crying at times and fidgeting slightly.

When she heard on the news and through relatives that Mower and his girlfriend had been shot, she immediately texted Miller, she testified.

Three minutes later, Miller texted her back with "Dom and Candy are dead?," to which she replied "That's what I just heard."

Briscoe also questioned her about why she initially seemed uncertain about what Miller had said.

"Are you sure he said he was going to shoot Dom?" he asked.

She told him yes and that she was sure she heard him say that he was going to kill Dom, and that Dom had ripped him off.

"When I asked you if you remembered exactly what he said, you said you didn't, but when the prosecutor asked, you suddenly remember it crystal clear? he asked her.

She said she now remembered clearly, and that she had been scared during her earlier testimony. She said that earlier this week, while staying at a home in El Dorado County, a man she'd never seen before came to the door and asked her whether she planned to testify in the trial.

He told her to think twice about doing so, she said.

The preliminary hearing is expected to end Friday.

Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter at Twitter.com/jmpasko96



Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Sabrina Roesner.