John Williams Murder Trial

The jury in the John Williams murder trial has returned with a verdict of guilty for the murder of Somerset County Sheriff's Corporal Eugene Cole.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning the verdict Tuesday afternoon.

Corporal Cole was familiar with John Williams when he approached him late one night in April 2018, outside a home where Williams had once lived. The two had met up just a few days before, when Cole arrested Williams' girlfriend on drug charges. At some point during the confrontation, Cole fell to the ground, where he was shot to death by Williams.

The sheriff's office became alerted that something was wrong when Williams showed up at a Norridgewock convenience store, driving his marked cruiser. After Williams stole cigarettes and drove away, the store's clerk reported it to authorities. The store was surrounded by law enforcement, as they began to search for Corporal Cole. He was eventually found by the homeowner lying in her yard. Police say Williams called several friends that night, admitting to at least one of them that he had shot Cole.

A manhunt for Williams lasted four days, with law enforcement from around the state, and the FBI taking part. Finally, he was located in a wooded area near Lost Brook in Norridgewock and taken into custody. A resulting photo, that was leaked to social media, prompted defense attorneys to allege that he was beaten by police and his eventual confession coerced. But the prosecution argued during the trial that Williams had enough firepower, at the time of his arrest, to take out all seven of the officers present at his arrest.

The funeral for Corporal Eugene Cole brought law enforcement agencies from around the country, the FBI, and even the Canadian Royal Mounted Police. The most touching moments came when Corporal Cole's brother, Tom, shared his feelings in a song, and Gene's son delivered his eulogy. Cole's wife, Sheryl, posted a thank you on social media, to everyone from the law enforcement officers who searched for Gene's killer, to strangers who offered their condolences.

Sentencing for Williams, 30, will come at a later date.

Rest in peace, Corporal Eugene Cole. You will never be forgotten.

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