Jury In Place For Murder Trial Of Man Accused Of Killing Sheriff's Deputy

Jun 5, 2019

After a shorter-than-expected selection period, the jury is in place for the trial of John Williams, who is charged with murder in the killing last April of Somerset County Sheriff's Deputy Corporal Eugene Cole.

Williams' attorney Verne Paradie says he's seeking an acquittal, and to have the charge reduced on the basis that Williams was too intoxicated to form intent, or to understand the consequences of his actions - both of which are required for a murder charge.

"He couldn't see ahead and see that, by taking the actions he took, he might have avoided arrest temporarily, understand the consequences of his actions," Paradie says.

Paradie says Williams was simply trying to "avoid arrest, get away, and get more drugs."

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 30 years; the minimum for murder, is 25. Prosecutors have suggested they'll pursue a life sentence.

The case is being tried in Cumberland County rather than central Maine, because of fears that an impartial jury wouldn't be possible locally.

The trial begins Monday, and could last up to two weeks.