The trial for the man accused of killing Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole last April is underway in Cumberland County Superior Court.
There’s no dispute about whether John Williams killed Cole. It’s whether he did it intentionally or knowingly.
In opening arguments, John Williams’ defense attorney, Verne Paradie, said his client was using extensive amounts of cocaine and heroin when he shot Cpl. Cole, which blocked his ability to form intent to kill. Paradie said Williams’ only goal was to avoid going to jail on drug charges.
But state prosecutors argued there’s ample evidence to indicate Williams knowingly killed Cole. Assistant attorney general Leane Zainea told jurors several times that Williams shot Cole at close range in the neck, then armed himself before he fled to a small cabin in the woods to evade capture.
Local and national law enforcement embarked on a nearly four-day manhunt before Williams was taken into custody.