Addiction Specialist: Williams In Throes Of Opiate Withdrawal When He Confessed To Killing Deputy

Mar 1, 2019

Attorneys for John Williams argue that his initial confession to killing Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole last April came as the result of physical violence while in custody and an opioid addiction, and should not be allowed at trial.

The defense brought in an addiction specialist and social psychologist to testify by videoconference in Cumberland County Superior Court Thursday.

Dr. John Steinberg, an addiction specialist from Maryland, testified that Williams' capacity to understand his actions was hindered by opioid withdrawal at the time of his apprehension and confession.

Dr. Brian Cutler testified that the circumstances of Williams’ apprehension might also have played a role.  Defense attorney Verne Pradis summed up his argument this way: "You know, he wanted food, he wanted sleep, he wanted to avoid further physical harm and he was trying to give the officers what they wanted in order to get those needs met."

The prosecution maintains that Williams understood the consequences of waving his Miranda rights at the time of his confession.

The hearing on the motion to supress is scheduled to continue tomorrow.

Updated Feb. 28, 2019 at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Originally published Feb. 28, 2019 at 9:36 a.m. ET.