Affidavit: Suspect Shot Maine Sheriff's Deputy In Head

May 1, 2018

John Williams of Madison was formally charged with murder in connection with the death of Somerset County deputy Eugene Cole at his first court appearance Monday in Kennebec County. A police affidavit revealed some new details in the case, but doesn’t shed light on why Cole was shot.

Justice Robert Mullen ordered a mental health examination of Williams and agreed to prosecutors’ request for a change of venue to Cumberland County. Williams stared straight ahead as he sat with his court-appointed lawyers and answered questions from the judge.

Mullen asked Williams whether he understood the charge and the possibility of a life sentence if convicted. Williams replied that he did.

John Williams, center, accused in the fatal shooting of Somerset County Sheriff's Deputy Eugene Cole, sits with an attorney during his initial court appearance on a murder charge, Monday, April 30, 2018, in Auburn, Maine. He was ordered held without bail.
Credit Marina Villeneuve / Associated Press

The arrest affidavit describes how on the morning of the shooting, Williams contacted a couple he knew to get a ride to a home in Norridgewock where he had once lived, the same home where Cole’s body was later found. It also says that Cole was talking with another deputy on the phone around the time of the shooting, and that the call was suddenly disconnected.

The affidavit alleges that Williams shot Cole in the head, fatally damaging his spinal cord, stole his sheriffs’ pickup truck, called a friend and confessed. Williams also asked a friend to pick him up near the site where Cole’s abandoned truck was found later in the morning.

The affidavit, signed by state police Detective Jason Andrews, does not provide any details of the manhunt or Williams’ capture, or what happened at the home on Mercer Road.

“Mr. Williams will be held without bail until there is a Harnish bail hearing. The case has been transferred to Portland and at this time we have no further comment,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese after the hearing.

This story was originally published April 30, 2018 at 3:45 p.m. ET.