The family, friends and co-workers of Deputy Sheriff Cpl. Eugene Cole got a taste of justice this week as the suspect charged with killing the law enforcement officer last April was found guilty.
On Tuesday a jury found defendant John Williams guilty of murder charges for the shooting death of Cpl. Cole on April 25, 2018.
Williams was accused of fatally shooting Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. The corporal was reportedly killed around 1:45 a.m. on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, 30 miles north of the state capital of Augusta.
The defense argued that Williams was a heavy drug user and that in his narcotics-induced state, couldn’t have intentionally killed the deputy.
“He didn’t mean to,” his attorney said. “He told [state witness] Dr. O’Grady it was like I was watching myself in third person, everything was happening so fast, then after I snapped back to reality like a rubber band.”
But the prosecution fired back, stating that being sleep deprived and under the influence is no excuse for how the events unfolded.
“John Williams knows exactly what happens when you put the muzzle of a 9 mm to a man’s neck and pull the trigger,” she said. “The target is eliminated. He did what he intended to do.”
Williams’ confession spelled it out.
“I pulled my pistol and got the jump on him and shot him. I shot him in the head when he was on the ground,” he said in a statement to authorities. After the shooting, Williams fled, prompting authorities to launch an all out manhunt to bring Cole’s killer to justice.
The four-day manhunt in Maine came to a successful, yet exhaustive conclusion. As Williams was brought in, he was arrested with the slain deputy’s own handcuffs, the police said.
Now Williams faces the possibility of being behind bars for the rest of his years.
“You never know what goes on in the mind of anyone,” District Attorney Lisa Marchese said. “We wanted to make sure that the jury understood that by putting the trigger up against the neck of Cpl. Cole, he intended to kill him. That wasn’t just a confused, drugged-out person. He did what he wanted to do.”
Tom Cole, Cpl. Cole’s brother, expressed his gratitude in the conclusion of the case.
“Hopefully we can start to sleep at night again,” Cole said. “Maybe it won’t be out there as much; maybe some of the wounds can start healing, cause it seems like this year as one wound starts to mend it’s ripped back open, so hopefully now we’ll be able to mend a bit.”
— NEWS CENTER Maine (@newscentermaine) April 28, 2018
Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen told the jurors that they should be proud for their role in serving justice.
I hope you feel good by what you’ve accomplished,” he said on Tuesday.
Williams will continue to be held in police custody without bond. His sentencing is scheduled for September. The prosecution is asking for a life sentence, which comes without possibility of probation or parole in the state of Maine. The defense is expected to ask for the minimum sentence of 25 years.