Somerset County sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole was on the ground when John D. Williams shot and killed him, an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant revealed.
Information in the document, which was unsealed Tuesday and made public Monday, detailed what Williams told investigators about his encounter with Cole on April 25.
The affidavit was filed seeking a search warrant for Williams’ clothes — a Swiss army jacket, a Zoo York white T-shirt, and Dickies pants with a pink belt — and a 9 mm Ruger handgun that allegedly was found when Williams was captured on April 28 at a Fairfield camp owned by a Massachusetts man.
The results of tests on the items at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory have not been made public.
Williams, 29, of Madison has pleaded not guilty to murder in connection with Cole’s death. Williams is being held without bail at the Maine State Prison in Warren.
The defendant allegedly told police that he encountered Cole at the home of Kim Sirois, who helped raise Williams. Cole asked Williams who he was and Williams told him, the affidavit said. When Cole reached for Williams’ arm, he pulled away.
“John Williams described pulling away from Cpl. Cole and pulling his pistol from his waistband,” the affidavit said. “John Williams stated that he ‘got the drop on him.’ John Williams said that as he pulled the pistol [out of his waistband], he advanced toward Cpl. Cole. John Williams indicated that as he did this, Cpl. retreated backward, tripped and fell to the ground.”
Williams continued to advance on Cole as the officer held his hand in front of his face, the document said. Williams allegedly told police that he “eliminated” Cole because he was mad at him for arresting his fiancee a few days earlier.
Williams’ attorney, Verne Paradie of Lewiston, said Monday in an email that his client may have been suffering the effects of drug withdrawal when he was interviewed by police.
“Mr. Williams was significantly under the influence of drugs and quite possibly withdrawing when he was interviewed by police,” the attorney said. “There are many factors that affect what a person tells police officers and we are looking into all of them, including the possible use of physical force against Mr. Williams. We intend on filing a motion to suppress any statements he gave police as the result of involuntariness.”
Paradie also said he has not yet examined the scenes where Cole was killed and Williams was arrested.
“We are also waiting to see further evidence and have the scene examined to see if what Mr. Williams told police actually matches with the scene,” the attorney said.
A request for comment from Deputy Attorney Lisa J. Marchese, who is prosecuting the case, was not immediately returned. It is the practice of the Maine Attorney General’s Office not to comment on pending cases.
Cole’s body was found about 7:15 a.m. April 25 on Sirois’ lawn. After the shooting, Williams stole the deputy’s police truck, then drove to a nearby convenience store, court documents said.
Williams allegedly told police that he ditched Cole’s truck on the Martin Stream Road in Norridgewock, where it was found about 5 a.m. April 25. Williams fled into the woods.
To get into the camp where he was arrested, Williams allegedly shot through the front. Officers who searched the camp found the some furniture had been broken and burned, the affidavit said.
Two other affidavits for search warrants of cell phones belonging to Williams, his friends and the people he allegedly confessed to also were made public Monday. Those affidavits did not contain the same details as the affidavit for the clothes and gun.
Cole, 61, of Norridgewock was the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years. At the time of his death, Cole had worked for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years.
The search for his alleged killer drew 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who scoured the woods in Norridgewock and Fairfield.
Williams’ trial is set for May in Portland.
If convicted of murder, Williams faces from 25 years to life in prison.
Marchese has said her office would seek a life sentence if Williams is convicted of murder. Under Maine law, a life sentence may be imposed in the death of an on-duty law enforcement officer.
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