John D. Williams, who is accused of killing Somerset County sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole, is led out of the Cumberland County Courthouse on June 12 after pleading not guilty to murder.

SKOWHEGAN — The man accused of killing Cpl. Eugene Cole claimed he “got the drop” on the officer and shot him in the head after he had tripped backward and fallen to the ground during an arrest in Norridgewock two months ago, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Cpl. Eugene Cole

“John (D.) Williams commented that he ‘eliminated’ Cpl. Cole,” Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews wrote in an affidavit asking the court for a search warrant following the suspect’s arrest in Fairfield after a four-day manhunt.

The documents shed new light on the circumstances that led to the first shooting death of a Maine police officer in nearly 30 years. Williams has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the death of Cole, 62, and faces life in prison if he is convicted.

According to the documents, Williams, 29, told police investigators that “he was mad at Cpl. Cole for arresting his girlfriend, but pointed out that he didn’t have a ‘vendetta’ against him,” and said “that he just didn’t want or wasn’t ready to go to jail” on unrelated drug charges in Massachusetts.

The affidavit says the Somerset County Sheriff’s corporal “interrupted” Williams in the early morning hours of April 25 as Williams was trying to enter the Norridgewock home of Kim Sirois, whom he referred to as his stepmother. A friend of the suspect, Christopher Shulenski, has said that Williams was acting paranoid that night and was carrying a backpack, two duffel bags and a bulletproof vest when Shulenski and another friend dropped Williams off outside Sirois’ home on Route 2 just before 1 a.m.

Shulenski previously had told police that while they were in the driveway of Sirois’ house they saw a Somerset County Sheriff’s pickup truck drive by the home – presumably driven by Cole. They said the sheriff’s truck was proceeding slowly, and that they saw the truck’s brake lights go on.

There is no indication in the newly released affidavit why Cole approached Williams or why he was attempting to arrest him that morning, and Williams reportedly told Cole he didn’t know why Cole was arresting him.

Williams described in the affidavit pulling away from Cole during the encounter, the officer retreating backward, tripping and falling to the ground. Williams then pulled his pistol from his waistband, took the gun off “safe” and shot Cole in the head while he was on the ground, the affidavit says.

The affidavit was filed in support of a request for search warrant for a 9 mm Ruger handgun that police say they found when Williams was arrested in the woods of Fairfield on April 28. The search warrant gave police authority to seize and examine for evidence a Swiss army jacket, a white Zoo York T-shirt, and Dickies pants with a pink belt, according to the documents.

Police received the first indication of Cole’s slaying at 1:42 a.m. on April 25 with a report of a robbery at the Cumberland Farms store on Waterville Road in Norridgewock.

A man, later identified as Williams, is seen entering the store on video footage from the dashboard camera of Cole’s marked cruiser. Hours later, Cole’s body was discovered in Sirois’ yard on Mercer Road, also known as U.S. Route 2, near downtown Norridgewock, where police say Williams once lived as a teenager after he had a falling out with his parents.

Cole’s cruiser was found on Martin Stream Road. Police said Williams, who was scheduled to appear in court in Massachusetts on gun charges that day, had shot Cole, stolen his cruiser and then abandoned it.

What followed over the next four days was a sprawling, frantic manhunt involving an estimated 200 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and game wardens from all over Maine and from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as federal agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Border Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service. Helicopters were deployed when the weather allowed.

It ended with Williams’ arrest on Norridgewock Road in Fairfield, not far from the search grid, marking a wide area around Martin Stream Road. One of the search teams found Williams outside a small, remote camp in the area of Lost Brook.

Police cuffed Williams using Cole’s handcuffs. Authorities said Williams, who looked worn out when he emerged from the woods shirtless and barefoot, exerted “limited resistance.”

Cole had arrested Williams’ girlfriend, Kristina Pomerleau, on drug charges a few days before Cole’s shooting. Pomerleau was released from the Somerset County Jail on May 10, having posted $5,000 cash bail, according to a jail intake worker. She was indicted by a Somerset County grand jury on two felony drug charges.

Pomerleau, 32, who lived at 357 Water St. in Skowhegan, according to court documents, is charged by the grand jury with unlawful possession of cocaine base, or crack, and with unlawful furnishing of cocaine, both on April 21 in Norridgewock, according to the indictment.

The affidavit on her arrest and how it might be related to Cole’s shooting is set to be released Tuesday after it is signed by a judge.

The Maine House of Representatives and the Senate both approved a bill to name the bridge over the Kennebec River in Norridgewock after Cole.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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