John D. Williams, the Madison man found guilty earlier this year of murdering a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy, will be sentenced Thursday in Portland.

State prosecutors will seek a life sentence for the 30-year-old Williams, who was found guilty in June of fatally shooting 61-year-old Cpl. Eugene Cole. Cole was the first Maine law enforcement officer fatally shot in the line of duty in three decades.

John D. Williams listens to attorney Patrick Nickerson in February while in court for a motion to suppress his confession in the death of Cpl. Eugene Cole, a sheriff’s deputy from Somerset County who was fatally shot last year. File photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Marc Malon, spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, confirmed Wednesday in an email that Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea will ask Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen to impose a life sentence.

The sentencing hearing will begin at 1 p.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

The sentencing range for murder in Maine is 25 years to life. Williams’ attorney, Verne E. Paradie Jr. of Lewiston, said he will ask the judge for a sentence in the 40 to 50 year range.

Cpl. Eugene Cole

“Mr. Williams is not the person that he is viewed as in the public eye,” Paradie said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening. “He can be rehabilitated.”


Paradie said his client was addicted to drugs and had been using heroin and crack cocaine for at least seven days prior to the shooting.

“Had he not gone down that path (drug use) we wouldn’t be having this conversation today,” Paradie said.

Williams and Cole encountered each other on a road in Norridgewock early in the morning of April 25, 2018.

Williams shot Cole and stole his police pickup truck, drove to a Cumberland Farms store and robbed it, and then drove off before abandoning the truck. Williams was captured after a four-day manhunt on April 28 in a wooded area of Fairfield. Photographs taken of his arrest show officers leading Williams out of the woods wearing no shirt and barefoot.

Williams was found guilty in June of murder after the jury deliberated for less than three hours.




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